Operation Fiela was a great success for police, but the foreign nationals were unhappy about their profits being lost, Witbank News reports.
Numerous allegations flew around about how the foreigners were treated, but Brig Delisiwe Motha quickly cleared the air during a Stakeholder Business Forum.
This took place on Wednesday, February 27, at the Witbank Police Station.
Present at the meeting were, among others, the general and deputy general alongside the Vosman Station commander, basic conditions inspectors from the labour department, town planner, Witbank cluster, embassy, home affairs, Vosman communications officer, and members from the Witbank Community Policing Forum.
The police argued that before they could close down a business, they issued a notice to the owner.
This happened during the first week of Operation Fiela. If nothing is done by the owner to pay his or her fines or getting a permit and still open the business and operate, the police are forced to close down the business or confiscate the goods and keep them in a municipal property.
The businesses were closed because after the first raid, they still operated.
During the meeting, it was pointed out that trading permits are issued to businesses located in business centres of areas such as malls and shopping complexes but not in residential areas such as Ackerville, Vosman, and Kwa Guqa, unless their business is situated in a business area within the residential area, but these small businesses were operated from garages in the residential area.
It was also stated by an anonymous source that people who worked in these shops were not paid and lived in the shops.
“Here they eat, clean, use the facilities and tomorrow we buy food from them,” the source said.
It was highlighted in the meeting that it takes about two months to get a trade license and that the application goes through a lot of departments and if a department rejects the application, then one could not get a trading license.
Which means the business cannot operate.
The Vosman Station commander highlighted that most of the business owners sold medicines and facial creams that were not in line with the Medicine and Substance Relations Act and that only professional doctors and pharmacists could sell these medicine and substances. She also urged them to go through Mpumalanga Business Act 2 of 1996.
One business owner, Alex Mazivela, asked how the government could help them formalise their unregistered businesses because the businesses already existed and they were making a living from them.
He believes he never got an answer from the officials.
“There was no solution on my side. I raised my point clearly. We have established businesses and the municipality would not provide permits for our residential businesses so they should provide some sort of formality because we survive on what we make from the businesses.”
The general urged the embassy to encourage their people to abide by the rules and regulations of the country.