A file picture of police with fake footwear worth R8 million. PHOTO: African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - Fake clothes, cigarettes, banknotes, hygiene products and pretty much everything under the sun were crippling Tshwane’s economy.

Chief executive of Tshwane Chamber of Commerce and Industry Pieter du Toit said illicit trade was all over the country, and Tshwane was no exception.

He said counterfeit banknotes were easier to detect in the formalised sector than in the informal sector.

“Formal sectors have the technology to verify banknotes, while informal sectors are being hit the hardest,” he said.

Apart from counterfeit banknotes, the trade was a huge concern for both sectors in the city.

As a vivid example, he said on the streets of Tshwane, three out of every 10 Nike sneakers were fake. “Big business and even some local Tshwane brands were feeling the dent in their turnover.

Look at the Fifa World Cup in 2010, people took advantage and sold millions of Bafana shirts for a 100th of the price.”

Last month, the police’s Operation O Kae Molao saw 136 people arrested and R3.2 million in counterfeit goods confiscated in Sunnyside, Pretoria Central and Brooklyn.

In Gauteng, police confiscated goods worth R18.5m in May alone.

Paul Ramara, a partner at intellectual property law firm Spoor and Fisher, warned that the counterfeit goods were no longer limited to one industry, such as clothing, but had spread to include a number of sectors.

“Any recognisable brand is at risk of being counterfeited, from clothing and music to pharmaceuticals and automotive parts.

“In automotive, there are no parts that are immune as counterfeited parts tend to be the most frequently replaced parts,” he said.

The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa advised consumers to always approach retailers or manufacturers to confirm the authenticity of products they buy, if there was any doubt.

Although these factors were excellent indicators of counterfeit goods, the growing sophistication of those selling fake items is making it increasingly difficult for consumers to spot them.

Pretoria News