An integrated operation took place in Bellville on Thursday afternoon.
The provincial police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Pojie, said the take-down operation included members of the SAPS, Customs, Home Affairs, and brand protectors from various popular products.
He said items recovered included fake clothing, watches, and other apparel to the tune of R5.1 million.
“The take-down operation kicked off at around 11am with a search warrant at a shopping complex close to the Bellville taxi rank, where two similar operations have been conducted in the recent past.
“Upon their arrival, SAPS members found most of the stores abandoned, but this did not deter the operation from being executed. Three Somalian men in their mid-thirties were arrested, and counterfeit goods to the estimated value of about R5.1 million were seized,” Pojie said.
He said one of the suspects was found with various important documents.
“A 36-year-old man was found inside a shop fronting as a copy shop, where members confiscated a substantial amount of cash, passports, photos, certificates, including birth, asylum, death, refugee certificates and vehicle licences, affidavits, and a money counting machine,” Pojie said.
The suspects face charges relating to the possession of counterfeit goods and fraud and are scheduled to appear in the Bellville Magistrate's Court once charged.
More charges might be added as the investigation by the Provincial Detectives Commercial Branch unfolds.
The Western Cape police commissioner, Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile, termed the trade of counterfeit goods as economic sabotage of the fiscus of the country.
He expressed his appreciation towards the team that ensured the successful removal of fake products from the province’s streets.
Patekile also issued a stern warning to building owners and landlords who are aware of illegal activities on their premises.