Raids in Umlazi south of Durban uncovered dented tins of food which could be poisonous, being sold in supermarkets in Malukazi on Monday.
Two shop owners were arrested by the Home Affairs’ immigration unit.
The raids were led by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) after township and rural-based spaza shop owners lodged complaints through its business regulations and consumer protection unit about being forced out of the market by a syndicate that has infiltrated the spaza shop market.
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The raids were also sparked by increasing incidents across the country of children falling ill and some dying after they had allegedly consumed goods from spaza shops.
Edtea partnered with eThekwini Municipality, other municipalities, the South African Police Service, Home Affairs immigration unit, Consumer Commission, National Competition Authority, Consumer Goods Council of South Africa and KZN Liquor Authority to conduct the raids.
According to the Department, the campaign was aimed at protecting local and honest entrepreneurs in the townships and rural areas.
Department spokesperson, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, said consumers have also complained about their safety and the welfare of children.
He said they uncovered unlabelled and expired goods including baby formula, sweets and snacks “which are a serious health risk for the community especially children”.
We have strengthened our partnership with law enforcement agencies, Consumer Commission, National Competition Authority and Consumer Goods Council of South Africa. We are also targeting manufacturers of counterfeit goods including fake alcohol.
“The KZN Liquor Authority is protecting more that 6 000 genuine liquor license holders,” he said.
Sibiya said a liquor outlet was closed down after it was found operating in the early hours of the morning.
He added that as a way of stimulating township and rural economy, the department invites Spaza shop owners to apply for funding of up to R100 000 through Ithala Bank.
“R20 000 grant will also help them to acquire stock and to fund a shortfall of liquidity for social grants pay-outs; about 960 Spaza shops will be given speed points to pay social grants and; about 10 graduates will be employed and attached to this programme. They will earn R10 000 over 24 months,” said Sibiya.