Communities have taken a stand against counterfeit goods as the country still reels from the deaths of two toddlers who allegedly devoured cookies purchased from a local foreign-owned spaza store.
Following the tragedy, some have called for the closure of the spaza stores, while others have proposed that stringent procedures be taken to ensure consumer safety.
In South Africa, fake food has reportedly threatened the lives of the most vulnerable, many of whom are unaware of the potential health risks.
The manufacture of foods has become a national priority, and the EFF is among political parties leading the charge to confront spaza shop owners about it.
In order to address the problem of selling out-of-date and fake items, the City of Joburg MMC for Public Safety, Mgcini Tshwaku, met with the owners of spaza businesses in and around Johannesburg.
“The MMC will today hold a meeting with some of the spaza shop owners around Johannesburg. This also comes after toddlers lost their lives following food poisoning after consuming chips and sweets bought from a local shop,” he said on X.
The African Transformation Movement (ATM) has also advocated for stricter sector regulations, including measures to prevent undocumented foreign nationals from conducting business on South African soil.
The statement shared publicly read: “The ATM recognises that it is the current challenging economic circumstances that continue to force the poor majority of our people into buying and consuming products of questionable quality; therefore, we wish to remind South African citizens to vote for a caring government in 2024 that will not allow people’s lives to be sacrificed at the altar of profit.
“The responsibility to ensure that poor and vulnerable people do not consume fake, poisonous food should be a priority for any people-centred government. Allowing the continuous, health-threatening usage of food not fit for human consumption is equivalent to biological warfare.
“The South African government has blood on its hands.”
Operation Dudula also vowed to permanently close foreign-owned spaza shops in Naledi.
Several social media videos show various communities taking a stand, with many validating the expiration dates of products sold to locals and others closing down specific establishments.