Undocumented foreigners arrested as police raided buildings in the Johannesburg CBD on Wednesday. FILE PHOTO: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency(ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - Mayor Herman Mashaba on Tuesday said he was "relieved" that the police had finally acted on his requests for a blitz on counterfeit goods and other crimes in the city.

Speaking at the New Council Chamber, in Braamfontein where he released the monthly Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) performance statistics, Mashaba said: “We all know that money made from buying and selling counterfeit goods does not contribute anything to the country’s economy. Illegal money, goes into funding even more illegal activities”.

The mayor was making reference to the counterfeit raids in the CBD earlier this month in which millions of rand worth of fake goods were confiscated. More than 500 foreign national were also picked up during the raid on 7 August.

Several policemen were arrested for graft linked to the raids. 

Mashaba said one of the reasons the country’s economy was in such a dire state was because of high crime rates, which he said ultimately led to lawlessness. 

“An increased number of counterfeit goods are being traded in our streets. This is by individuals who do not consider how this is affecting the economy and prospects of our people finding and creating employment.”

The mayor said he could not understand how the fake goods were allowed to enter South Africa. 

“I also can’t help but wonder how these goods managed to get into the country undetected. Isn't that the reason we have customs and border security? [To stop] ... fake goods.”

The latest Operation Buya Mthetho JMPD Performance report revealed that the City confiscated counterfeit goods worth R5 million rand. The  counterfeit goods were still with the police and will be kept for three months before they are disposed of. 

The report also revealed that the top six crimes and arrests in the city include: 790 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol (890 in June),  27 for hijacked or stolen motor vehicles (28 in June), 17 for common robbery (22 in June) 15 for reckless and negligent driving, 14 for possession of unlicensed firearms (24 in June) and 13 for stolen goods.

Mashaba said the figures show an improved crime fighting effort, but the challenges were still there. 

"At the moment, the city has between 700 and 800 officers on patrol at any one time but our crime-fighting and by-law enforcement capabilities will improve vastly when the new cohort of police officers begin their duties,' said the mayor.

"We will do so with an additional complement of 1,500 new JMPD officers, who will be ready for active duty by the end of October."

African News Agency (ANA)