DANGEROUS: These original grocery products have been identified as some of the popular items that are being cloned in the illicit food market. Scores of posts are doing the rounds on social media warning of fake foods that pose a possible health threat, including baby formula. Picture: ANA Pictures

JOHANNESBURG - The Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) on Thursday condemned this week's killing of foreign traders accused of selling counterfeit and expired products but called on authorities to stage a clampdown to protect the local economy.

"We call on local citizens to cease with and desist from further attacking foreign nationals because we believe that every evidence of fake and expired goods, counterfeit and smuggled products, and illegally manufactured foodstuff and other products must be reported to law enforcement agencies, consumer commission and other authorities," said the union's general secretary Katishi Masemola.

He added that FAWU did not support any form of attack on foreign nationals, including looting or vandalising their property but called directly on President Cyril Ramaphosa to act with haste to curb illegal trade.

"While we support a peaceful campaign against illicit trade, a campaign we have been waging by protest marches to the South Africa Revenue Services (SARS) in March 2018 and again to the National Treasury on August 14, we are now calling for the urgent clamping down of illegal operators and illegitimate importers as with illicit traders, for the sake of local jobs, the health of the nation and revenue to the fiscus."

The union called on Ramaphosa to establish a multi-disciplinary task force; involving health inspectors, tax officials, police officers, and other relevant players to crack down on smugglers.

FAWU's call comes after violent attacks on spaza shops in Soweto on Wednesday left three people dead.

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African News Agency (ANA)