Immigration officers have arrested 27 undocumented illegal immigrants during City of Ekurhuleni's joint operation to inspect spaza shops for counterfeit and expired goods.
The joint operation, which included Home Affairs, SAPS and the City, led to the additional arrest and detention of five shop owners for contravening the Immigration Act by employing undocumented foreign immigrants.
About 13 shops were thoroughly inspected out of which 12 were issued with notices of intended prosecution for failure to produce a certificate of acceptability. All 12 shops were closed immediately.
Some of the health hazard items, included meat packages, that did not indicate sell-by dates, illicit cigarettes, expired and rotten food, and unlabelled frozen mixed veggies, amongst others. These items have been confiscated and are scheduled to be destroyed tomorrow.
Addressing the community of Ramaphosa in Boksburg, the Mayor said:
"We are not here to perpetrate wrong things. We attended shops owned by both South Africans and non-South African citizens. We are not here to victimise foreign nationals but we will not tolerate individuals who are not prepared to adhere to the laws of the country.
"We have come to appreciate that this is bigger than we have thought, and it requires a sustainable programme which we will soon announce. It is disturbing that out of the 13 shops inspected, we filled to capacity three 8-ton trucks with confiscated material," the Mayor said, adding that the City will continue inspections across Ekurhuleni.
Tomorrow the Mayor will lead another operation in Tembisa.