The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) on Friday condemned attacks on foreign traders in parts of Soweto and urged communities to isolate criminal elements that were hijacking genuine community concerns.
This comes after violent attacks on spaza shops in Soweto on Wednesday left three people dead.
“Those who are looting shops owned by foreign national under the guise that these are selling illicit fake food products have a criminal intent and a destructive agenda than protecting the health and welfare of our communities,” Sanco spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said.
“Their actions defy our humanity and commitment to peaceful coexistence.”
Mahlangu said that the moral regeneration project must be revived and crime prevention structures revitalised to address lawlessness and encroaching immorality.
“The current crisis is pointing to endemic corruption that has been allowed to fester in the food industry and or collapse of environmental health inspectorates in municipalities that are supposed to be conducting regular unannounced inspections at business premises and spaza shops,” he said.
He said if left unaddressed this could affect the overall health of the nation.
“Action must be taken against those who have been turning a blind eye to this alleged catastrophe,” he added.
Mahlangu welcomed the government’s resolve to tackle the sale of fake items and intensify consumer awareness relating to the safety of food products.
“To this end, we are encouraging our structures to be part of stakeholder engagement forums that will be held next week with different business formations and monitor compliance with applicable legislation by regulatory bodies,” Mahlangu added.