One of the machines confiscated by police in the Northern Cape who nabbed six suspects thought to be linked to a counterfeit goods production factory in Hartswater worth about R77 million. The factory is believed to have been used to manufacture, package and distribute counterfeit items.
THE Consumer Goods Council of South Africa has advised consumers to always approach retailers or manufacturers to confirm the authenticity of products they buy, if there was any doubt.

This comes after people took to social media to complain about the influx of fake products into their communities that have flooded the market, especially in foreign-owned shops in townships.

Videos and pictures of the goods, in factories and shops have been shared rapidly.

Among the the posts making the rounds is one by Facebook user Mosiane-Manong LadyGee Boitumelo.

She posted a packet of Always pads and wrote: “The packaging is so well copied!. Please beware, ladies. Authorities have found that these fake pads, mostly sold by Pakistani and Somali traders contain bacteria. They are not SABS-approved and produced in unsanitary backyard factories.”

Early this month, police in the Northern Cape nabbed six suspects thought to be linked to a counterfeit goods production factory in Hartswater, worth about R77million.

The business was closed down during a sting operation in which police found various counterfeit items, including spices, sanitary towels and shoe polish.

The factory is believed to have been used to manufacture, package and distribute the items.

Police also confiscated the equipment and machinery used to package the goods.

Last week, police swooped on a Durban CBD warehouse where more than 500 boxes of counterfeit sanitary pads were seized.

A police source said research revealed that if the pads were contaminated with bacteria they could pose a health risk. A 39-year-old Ethiopian was arrested at the scene.

According to GS1 executive, Michele Francis Padayache, counterfeit goods was a fraudulent imitation of a manufacturer's goods which kept growing yearly.

GS1 is a not-for-profit organisation that develops and maintains global standards for business communication. It concentrates on a barcode, printed on products, that can be scanned electronically.

Padayache warned consumers it was not safe to buy products, which included food products, from unknown sources, saying the dangers to their health could not be over-emphasised.

“Consumers’ rights to safe products is enshrined and protected by the Consumer Protection Act.

“In the event that they are unhappy or concerned with such goods they should take it up with the consumer goods and services Ombud,” she said.

SAPS spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said, however, consumers could not confirm the authenticity of products until operations were conducted. Social media has in recent days circulated images and video footage of a variety of counterfeit products being made in factories by seemingly non-conforming people.