Friday, 13 January 2012

Anti-Counterfeit Friday


Stun Grenade downtown Joburg (Pic Adrian De Kock)
From one of South Africa's leading newspapers - the Star is a front page story about one of IP's greatest challenges:

"Parts of Joburg [ed Africa's commercial capital] resembled a war zone yesterday as the SA National Defence Force, the SAPS Tactical Response Team and customs officials took part in Operation Festive Season for a second day."

"Two army Rooikat trucks stood at both ends of Delvers Street as officers focused their efforts on counterfeit clothing, and shopowners looked on helplessly as their stores were raided and their goods confiscated."

The tone and content of report is highly critical:

"A taxi driver was dragged into a puddle and ordered to swim because he laughed at a police officer. A woman was pepper-sprayed and beaten with a stick because she wanted to close her shop. And a human rights worker had his phone confiscated and was arrested for taking photographs of a soldier beating a shopkeeper with the butt of his R4 assault rifle."

Comment:

At the risk of repetition, it is almost a year to the day that a Custom offical was murdered for being too effective at his job. The statistics on counterfeiting are at appalling levels - taxes do not get paid, jobs and revenue are lost, counterfeit spare parts and drugs are deadly and counterfeiting has been linked to organised crime and perhaps even terrorism. The effects of counterfeiting cannot be underestimated and whilst Afro-IP does not condone brutality or abuse of powers in any way, it supports all efforts against counterfeiting. One must question whether, but for the alleged abuses mentioned in the report, the news would have made the front page or the newspaper at all. Probably not. And what does that say about the mindset of the public against dealers in counterfeit goods, when such news does not (on its own) sell papers?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is counterfeiting really a worse problem than having soldiers in our streets?

See the following post by Prof Pierre de Vos on the constitutional issues relating to the deployment of soldiers within the borders of SA:

http://constitutionallyspeaking.co.za/why-are-soldiers-patrolling-the-streets-of-cape-town/

http://constitutionallyspeaking.co.za/why-a-ten-year-old-agreement-cannot-authorise-deployment-of-soldiers-in-our-cities/