By Staff Reporter
QWAQWA – A team consisting of the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, (Destea) through its Consumer Protection Unit, SAPS and Free State Gambling, Liquor and Tourism Authority (FSGLTA) arrested a Chinese national on July 7, 2022, following a tip off from social media.
According to a statement, this was in reaction to a Facebook post that was published by a member of the community on July 6 2022 alleging that illicit trade of alcohol is thriving at Odendaal bottle store near taxi rank.
The above-mentioned departments raided the liquor outlet on July 7 2022 and found it dealing in illicit alcohol.
“Even the labels as well as bottle caps were tampered with. The above-mentioned team together with the police confiscated illicit alcohol and one Chinese male suspect was charged under the Counterfeit Goods Act 37 of 1997; investigations continue.”
The arrest happens as Destea is the process of enacting a law to regulate the number of foreigners doing business through a quota system. The Integrated Local Economic Development Bill, which residents of the province have already put their inputs into during public hearings, requires municipalities to maintain quotas for ownership, of not more than 20 percent of foreign ownership.
The Free State MEC for Destea Makalo Mohale commended the team for this great success and sent a stern warning to illicit alcohol traders.
He added that he was deeply concerned about the safety risks associated with the consumption of illicit alcohol, and will leave no stone unturned to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.
“Through collective operations such as this one, we will reclaim our economy, reconstruct and restore it to our people.”
Outlining the key elements of the draft law, Mohale said:
“It seeks to provide for the promotion and development of the Free State economy and to create a conducive environment for the attainment of that purpose by regulating the licensing of businesses and providing for exclusive ownership and operation of certain specified businesses categories for citizens. “it seeks regulation of foreign ownership of certain business categories through prescribed quartos as well as designating certain commodities for the mandatory enterprise development by all businesses and provincial state organs.
“It further aims to enforce mandatory and exclusive sourcing and procurement by the state organs, of locally produced commodities will be provided while also providing for establishment as a coordinating representative of businesses community in those respective areas and to provide for matters connected there with or incidental thereto,” Mohale highlighted.