Latest Eastern Cape Bout of Food Poisonings Must be Put at the Feet of Government

ActionSA believes the National Government, including the Police Department and Health Department, should take responsibility for the roughly 120 pupils – including 50 who are in hospital – who suffered from food poisoning in Komani, Eastern Cape, after possibly buying counterfeit goods.

Their food poisoning follows a number of incidents in Gauteng and the Free State where people have fallen ill and passed away, possibly from consuming counterfeit or expired goods.

During my time as Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, I repeatedly warned about the dangers counterfeit goods – including foods and medicine – pose for South Africans across the country and requested urgent intervention by the National Government. At the time, I mentioned how city inspectors warned of a ‘health catastrophe’ unless action was taken.

Unsurprisingly but tragically, my pleas fell on deaf ears, and requests for additional powers to be awarded to the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) to prosecute these crimes were also rejected. We now find ourselves in a situation where the goods on sale on shop counters across the country cannot be trusted.

We are now sitting in a situation where the state’s failure to address the threat of counterfeit goods may lead to a situation where communities take the law into their own hands to protect consumers – something which South Africa can ill-afford.

ActionSA reiterates our belief that drastic actions should be taken, including raiding the factories where these goods are produced as I did as Johannesburg Mayor, and prosecuting these crimes speedily.

Our activists and councillors have already embarked on the inspections of shops to ensure that the goods for sale are not counterfeit and are not expired in a bid to protect consumers.

It is simply unacceptable that we are placing the lives of South Africans at risk because we are failing to uphold the rule of law in South Africa.

At our recent policy conference, delegates adopted policies which would turn the tide of lawlessness in the country by increasing prison sentences, removing bail for certain crimes such as gender-based violence & femicide and increasing community policing.

Our civil service also needs to be reformed to restore ethical leadership to ensure that the bribery of officials does not take place, and inspections of factories and retail outlets occur regularly in line with legislation.

As a party committed to the rule of law, ActionSA will work tirelessly to turn around the scourge of counterfeit goods production to ensure that South Africans are kept safe and can trust the goods they buy at stores.