By Kaya 959 News
South Africa’s booming counterfeit market is having a major impact on local businesses, more especially those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This month alone, police have recovered fake goods valued at nearly R500 000. Four men were arrested after Hawks raided a shop selling counterfeit goods in Musina.
“A multi-disciplinary operation between the Hawks, Polokwane Tactical Response Team, Musina Visible Police and Customs Beitbridge was conducted and the identified shops were raided. During the raid, an assortment of suspected counterfeit sneakers bearing different brands to the value of over R250 000 were seized,” SAPS spokesperson, Matimba Maluleke said.
Before that, police recovered fake clothing valued at R150 000 during a raid near the border.
Jobs at risk
Local businessman, Dean Pozniak, said countless businesses across the country have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and this new wave of counterfeiting is putting the industry’s recovery and local jobs at risk.
Pozniak, founder of local brand, Simon and Mary said he was aware of an influx of counterfeit versions of his products being sold in and around Johannesburg.
He said authorities have been alerted and the brand is in touch with other stakeholders in the industry, both private and public, to explore collective initiatives to curb this diminishing trend.
He said public sector stakeholders such as Proudly South Africa and Brand South Africa, which have patriotic and economic mandates to promote and protect local businesses and their products, have also been engaged regarding the matter.
“Countless businesses across South Africa have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and this new wave of counterfeiting is putting our industry’s recovery and local jobs at risk,” Pozniak said.
According to the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, it is estimated that counterfeiting could account for as much as 10% of the South African economy.
This counterfeiting poses a real risk to consumers as it potentially exposes them to unsafe or dangerous products while making it more difficult for local authentic manufacturers to remain competitive and deprives governments of tax revenue that could contribute to much-needed service delivery.
As South Africa is still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has also placed unprecedented pressure and restrictions on local businesses and their ability to create and sustain jobs.
Recent Statistics South Africa research found that 216 companies (mostly SMMEs) across sectors were liquidated in March 2021, compared to 178 in February 2021 – an increase of 21%.
Liquidations at this rate and the aforementioned counterfeiting only exacerbate South Africa’s unemployment rate which, by the broadest definition, is approximately 40%.
“World Anti-Counterfeiting Day is just weeks away and serves as a poignant reminder for people across the globe to continue supporting local brands, especially as some pandemic-related lockdowns and the associated economic restrictions continue in some regions.
“It is also a call for authorities to ensure that they are taking the necessary steps and precautions to ensure the sustainability of local businesses and products as well as their safety,” Pozniak said.
He said as a proudly South African brand, they appreciate the continued support they have received both locally and internationally during this time.
“We urge fans of our brand to continue making their purchases through our online store as well as trusted stockists across SA and look forward to working with other stakeholders in our sector to curb this unfortunate trend,” he said.