Police Minister Bheki Cele says the problem of undocumented foreign nationals continues to impact crime-fighting efforts.
This comes after the police’s Operation Shanela in the Johannesburg CBD, where more than 300 people were arrested.
Counterfeit goods and medicines were some of the goods confiscated.
The operation commenced just before midday on bustling De Villiers Street.
Police were, however, left with fewer stalls to inspect as most shut down when they heard police were in the area.
Three hundred people were arrested for various transgressions.
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority’s Ramarumo Bobape says most medicines being sold were unregistered.
“Most of them are your steroids, topical medicines that are used to lighten the skin. They are supposed to be registered, but most of them are not registered with SAHPRA,” says Bobape.
A large chunk of the arrests involved undocumented foreign nationals.
Police Minister Bheki Cele says it’s concerning that so many of them are continuing to trade in illegal goods in the city center.
This, he says, is weighing heavily on police manpower and logistics.
“When they commit a crime, they give police difficult work to check and chase those people who have no fingerprints, no DNA, and all that. But one thing that takes us back on this matter, every stall in these streets is foreign nationals, and mostly those foreign nationals are illegal, hence, when you come, they shut them and run when they see the police,” says Cele.
The public expressed varied opinions on the operation, “When we call the police about the drug dealers, tomorrow we see them outside. De Villers is a business place, and we get to survive with this business because we come to stock.”
“Don’t focus on people who have done nothing and focus on drug awareness. They have finished our children in South Africa.”
Over 70 000 people have been arrested since the launch of the high-density operations launched in May this year aimed at intensifying the fight against crime.
Police Minister Bheki Cele joins operation in Joburg CBD to clamp down on fake goods trade: