A total of 60 persons were remanded in custody by the Witbank Magistrate's Court for numerous contraventions, after they appeared on, Friday 15 February 2019. Their appearance stems from an operation that was conducted by a joint team comprising members of the South African Police Service at Vosman near Witbank in conjunction with different stakeholders such as the Departments of Health, Home Affairs and Labour, Municipal Law Enforcement officers as well as Community Police Forum members conducted Operation Fiela on Thursday, 14 February 2019. The purpose of the operation was to ensure compliance by shop owners selling foodstuffs in terms of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, Act 54 of 1972 among other things.
During the execution of the operation, the team searched various shops and found that most of the products/items have expired, which were then confiscated. Four men aged between 26 and 42, were arrested in violation of the Act. An additional 56 undocumented persons aged between 19 and 45 were also nabbed for the contravention of the Immigration Act, Act 13 of 2002 as amended.
The Municipal Law Enforcement officers further conducted inspections for illegal electricity and water connections which they removed. All suspects arrested appeared at the Witbank Magistrate's Court on the same day and were remanded in custody, they are expected to appear at the same court on different dates, 22,25,26,27 February 2019.
The Provincial Commissioner of Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma warned shop owners to comply with the law and urged them to keep their shops clean and refrain from selling expired food as this poses a serious health hazard to consumers. General Zuma is also concerned on the high number of undocumented foreigners as it contributes to crime in the province.
Source: South African Police Service