R1.2m goods confiscated

2015-05-19 06:00
Officers search all residents before they enter the centre at one of the check points. 

Samantha lee

Officers search all residents before they enter the centre at one of the check points. PHOTOS: Samantha lee

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During the integrated cordon-and-search operation in the Town Centre on Thursday several successes were recorded.

While soldiers manned the entrances and the other officers executed searches, home affairs immigration officers walked from shop to shop checking that all foreigners had the correct documentation.

Police station sommander Brigadier Cass Goolam says they have a good relationship with the foreigners who operate in the Town Centre.

“There are many who are positively contributing to the economy of Mitchell’s Plain but there is a criminal element among them – those who are selling contraband and dealing in stolen goods, specifically cellphones. This is also creating tension among residents,” he says.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Jerome Voegt explains that the area has a large group of foreigners from many different nationalities.

Home affairs immigration officers walked into several shops, specifically looking for shops owned by immigrants “for the purpose of today’s operation,” Voegt said on Thursday.

Their duty was to check that all foreign nationals in the Town Centre had their relevant documentation with them.

Those who did not carry their documentation were detained and given an opportunity to present their documents within 48 hours.

Voegt says that this is not the same as an arrest. “The foreign nationals are given a chance to prove their status. Those who have expired visas are also detained while those who have no papers are arrested and will be processed for deportation,” he says.

More than 39 foreigners were detained pending verification.

By law they are required to have all valid documents with them at all times, but they are given two days to prove their status before the deportation process begins.

South African Revenue Services (Sars) customs officials and the provincial police also visited stores but for a different reason.

The officers searched stores for counterfeit and unlicensed goods at the Plaza.

Thousands of items were confiscated during the operation. Armed with a search warrant, officers removed locks from kiosks as well.

The members recovered several items, including shoes, clothing, stationery, toiletries, bags, wallets, socks, caps, sunglasses, watches, blades and razors, bangles, sporting goods, toys, electrical appliances and other apparel.

Voegt explains that the stores are not licensed to sell branded items.

“The goods must come from a licensed supplier and no one is allowed to sell branded goods without one. The counterfeit goods were confiscated but no arrests were made,” he says.

“The goods will be destroyed. Everything without a brand will be returned to the shop owner and so it does not affect their trading. Only the unlicenced goods are confiscated,” he says.

The confiscated goods totaled more than R1.215m. This is calculated by adding the total worth of the goods sold from a manufacturer

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