Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has condemned the attack on law enforcement agencies in Johannesburg, describing it as an attack on the State, which cannot be accepted.
“What happened [last] Thursday when law enforcement agencies were attacked with stones by street traders and hawkers, is not acceptable. Any attack on law enforcement agencies… cannot be allowed,” Ntshavheni said.
The Minister was addressing members of the media following a briefing she had with the police on the extent of counterfeit and pirated goods in the Johannesburg CBD.
On Thursday, 1 August, law enforcement agencies were attacked with objects, including bricks and petrol bombs, in the Johannesburg CBD when they were conducting an operation against counterfeit goods.
Ntshavheni said police must be given space to do their work.
“The police have not made any arrests as yet. It cannot be said that the people who were involved were foreign nationals.
“We are saying the attack on the police was done by street traders and hawkers in Johannesburg, irrespective of their nationality. Acts of undermining the State [are not only] conducted by foreign nationals. Even the nationals of this country can be liable for that,” she said.
According to the Minister, South Africa’s economy lost about R350 million between December 2018 and July 2018 as a result of counterfeit goods.
The Minister met with the Hawkers’ Association to discuss last week’s incident and to chart a way forward that will ensure that the incident does not happen again.
“It is within the interest of the entrepreneurs, whether they are in the formal or informal business, to protect the rule of law and the laws of the republic. There is a discussion that the country should have on how to regulate and manage the informal trading business,” she said.
The Minister believes that the informal business sector provides a critical safety net against unemployment and poverty for society, in particular the urban poor.
In addition to her meeting with the Hawkers’ Association, the Minister conducted a walk-about of the Central Business District.
“The intrusion of criminality (counterfeit and pirated goods) and lawlessness damage opportunities for all participants and stakeholders of the sector to grow and meaningfully contribute to developing South Africa and such must not be tolerated,” the Minister said. – SAnews.gov.za