A group of angry residents from Lotus Gardens in Pretoria West raided a local spaza shop following a emergence of an audio recording in which a woman claimed one of the customers was sold a “strangely” red Coca-Cola beverage.
The unidentified woman, who is affiliated to Lotus Atteridgeville Saulsville Civic Association, said in the recording that she was called by a parent who had sent out her child to buy a Coca-Cola beverage from a spaza shop.
To her surprise the beverage turned out to be a red-coloured mixed drink after she opened it, according to the recording.
“So, mama took back the drink to the shop, where she expressed concern that the drink was red. The shop owner offered to exchange it for her with another one. She refused the offer and she called me afterwards. I called the community and we closed the shop, ”she said.
The raid incident was captured in a video footage showing some confiscated food products thrown outside the spaza shop with the owner standing in the background.
In the video some people could be heard questioning why some products were kept inside the spaza shop despite that they didn’t bear an expiry date.
“We can’t blame suppliers of the products. The onus should be on the spaza shop owner to make sure there is a sell-by date on the product,” one resident fumed.
Community members said they discovered there were many other expired foodstuffs in stock which had reached their sell-by date during the raid.
Leader of the association, Tshepo Mahlangu, said residents demanded the shop to be shut pending visits by-law enforcement and health officials.
He said: “We might also be raiding other spaza shops operated by undocumented foreigners but we aim to conduct raids through proper processes, to avoid incidents of looting by opportunistic criminals.”
He accused the City of Tshwane of not helping the community affected by the sales of expired foodstuff in spaza shops.
“Even our president (Cyril Ramaphosa) and his Gauteng premier (Panyaza Lesufi) are supporting this nonsense caused by these undocumented foreign nationals,” he said.
Mahlangu’s remark was with reference to the recent ANC election campaign in Soweto led by Ramaphosa who interacted with a foreign national owning a spaza shop, wanting to know whether his business was doing good in the township.
In December, Tshwane’s MMC for Health Rina Marx led a team of municipal officials, including metro police on a food safety operation in Pretoria North, where they raided some businesses and spaza shops to check if they complied with the law.
At the time, Marx explained that the City has health inspectors charged with conducting food safety inspections and participating in joint operations and projects in relation to food safety.