SAPS, Ekurhuleni metro cops raid expired food repackaging facility, 13 arrested
EKURHULENI – At least 13 people have been arrested and charged after City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD) and South African Police Service (SAPS) officers swooped on a facility where expired and counterfeit consumables were being reprocessed and repackaged for sale, the city said on Sunday.
"At least 13 people were charged with dealing with illicit goods and being in possession of suspected stolen property," Ekurhuleni mayoral committee member for community safety Phaladi Mmoko said in a statement.
Friday's raid on the property was "sparked by community activism" in which police received a tip-off from the community, he said.
“In this property, they are repurposing the expired consumables like sweets, chocolate, soft drinks and snacks, repackage them and resell[ing] to the community. All these illegal actions are done under very unhygienic [conditions],” Mmoko said.
The preliminary investigation revealed that the expired products being reprocessed had been destined for disposal. Police were investigating the possibility that some of the products were stolen during delivery truck hijackings.
Investigations at the property also revealed that the premises did not comply with legislation governing hygiene for food handling premises and that the processed food did not comply with legislation on foodstuffs, cosmetics, and disinfectants.
Police and environmental health practitioners would continue to monitor informal food trading throughout the city, "as such products may end up being sold there", Mmoko said.
He commended the effective response of the EMPD and SAPS officers. “This brings confidence to the community. I can assure the community right now that during Covid-19 or not, we will never shy away from fighting crime.”
More arrests had not been ruled out, and community members were urged to continue to report any suspicious activities to the EMPD or SAPS by calling 086-00-10111.
African News Agency (ANA)