Fake goods are hurt­ing SA

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - Sandile Mchunu

SOUTH Africa needs to stand up and fight the prob­lem of coun­ter­feit goods as it has the po­ten­tial to de­stroy the econ­omy and lead to un­em­ploy­ment in the coun­try, Paul Ra­mara, a part­ner at Spoor & Fisher, has warned.

Ra­mara said this week that the coun­ter­feited goods were no longer lim­ited to one in­dus­try, such as the cloth­ing in­dus­try, but had now spread to in­clude a num­ber of sec­tors.

Coun­ter­feit­ing was once viewed by many as a prob­lem lim­ited to pur­vey­ors of high­end lux­ury goods, but to­day coun­ter­feit­ing has be­come a multi­bil­lion-rand crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity that af­fects al­most ev­ery in­dus­try.

“Any recog­nis­able brand is at risk of be­ing coun­ter­feited, from cloth­ing and mu­sic to phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and au­to­mo­tive parts.

“In au­to­mo­tive, there are no parts that are im­mune as coun­ter­feited parts tend to be the most fre­quently re­placed parts,” he said.

The in­dus­try es­ti­mates that thou­sands of coun­ter­feit auto parts flow into the coun­try ev­ery year. Only a frac­tion of them are ever de­tected by cus­toms and even less now in the age of e-com­merce.

As re­cently as this week the po­lice said three men were ar­rested in the north of Pre­to­ria af­ter they were found in pos­ses­sion of a sub­stan­tial amount of sus­pected coun­ter­feit bank notes re­sem­bling US dol­lars and South African rand.

How­ever, the po­lice did not dis­close the value of the coun­ter­feited ban­knotes.

Lukhanyo Vapi, an ap­pli­ca­tions engi­neer at Scha­ef­fler, said this was a widespread prob­lem in South Africa at the mo­ment and the cul­prits were tar­get­ing big ci­ties like Dur­ban, Cape Town and Jo­han­nes­burg.

“They find it eas­ier to gain ac­cess for their coun­ter­feit goods in Cape Town and Dur­ban be­cause of the ac­cess to the har­bour of the ci­ties,” Vapi said.

Vapi said in Dur­ban re­cently a raid was con­ducted in which coun­ter­feited goods val­ued at R141 000 were con­fis­cated by the au­thor­i­ties.

“We might have been able to catch one op­er­a­tion, but we know there are many il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties out there,” he said.

Dur­ban holds sig­nif­i­cance as the port city that’s a pop­u­lar en­try point for goods in­tended for sale in south­ern Africa.

Ra­mara said the prob­lem lay in the fact that for 2 000 con­tain­ers that land in Dur­ban, only 5 per­cent are searched.

Vapi also said ear­lier this year that coun­ter­feit bear­ings worth R2.3 mil­lion were seized in Jo­han­nes­burg and then de­stroyed.

Ra­mara added that coun­ter­feits al­ways had a mar­ket be­cause they were cheaper than the orig­i­nal brands.

FILE

Coun­ter­feit goods, from T-shirts to watches, CDs and DVDs, on sale at a street stall.

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