The clock is ticking for authorities in the City of Tshwane as they are given until November 25 to shutdown illegal spaza shops and deport their owners.

In a detailed petition sent out to various government departments which include home affairs; labour and health, SAPS as well as the City of Tshwane, the angry community of Ga-Rankuwa has launched a crusade against the illegal operations of spaza- shops in the township. They are calling for authorities to deport the owners and shut down their establishments before November 25. This comes at the backdrop of numerous reports of persons, especially children, who allegedly fell ill after consuming foodstuff purchased from foreign owned tuck shops, with the most recent one being 22 learners from Tlotlo Mpho Primary School.

Campaign leaders, Nonkululeko Qhotsokoane and Thabiso Maringa say they are concerned about the spread and continued operations of tuck shops by non-South Africans who are illegal in the country. The petitioners say operators of illegal spaza- shops are notorious for selling fake goods, illegal contraband and expired foodstuff. They say though they are aware that these incidents are being reported to the GaRankuwa SAPS those tuck shops are still operating. The community further laments that there is no proper monitoring of spaza- shops and those operating them illegally contravened by-laws. This is despite the recent raids by the Tshwane metro police at various spaza shops across the municipality.

In a statement released by MMC for health, Rina Marx, she states that safety health inspectors were charged with conducting food safety inspections and participating in joint operations and projects in relation to food safety. Meanwhile, earlier this month, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni announced government’s plans to clamp down on spaza shops run by foreign nationals in the country. The community is demanding that by November 25, the City, SAPS, Department of Labour and other relevant government institutions must have inspected the spaza shops for compliance with relevant legislation, regulations and by-laws. They are also calling on authorities to confiscate non-compliant stock and contraband and ensure they
are disposed of.