Counterfeit clothing worth over R45-million was seized in central Johannesburg on Thursday when police raided an abandoned building allegedly used by foreign nationals as their production plant.
The raid at the premises in Delvers Street was conducted by the police and officials from SARS.
Shoes‚ T-shirts and jackets with imagery resembling different popular brand names were seized.
Items were loaded in three big delivery trucks and taken to a police centre.
Police spokesman Captain Kay Makhubele said 20 foreign nationals have been arrested and will be charged with dealing in counterfeit goods.
“We also got several machines used to produce fake brands. Depending on the investigation more people might be arrested and we might raid more buildings soon‚” said Makhubele.
Tadesse Yemane who runs a clothing shop on Delvers Street was not impressed with the operation.
He claims police did not have a search warrant and had no right to force nearby shops to close their businesses on the day.
“Some of us are not involved in this fake thing but we were forced to close our shops for no reason. It’s not the first time that police have closed this street. They did the same thing last week. Why don’t they deal with those producing fake goods and stop treating all of us as criminals?” Yemane complained.
Makhubele dismissed Yemane’s claims‚ saying the operation was legitimate.
Police had to use rubber bullets to disperse a group of people who pelted police vehicles with rocks as they drove away from the scene.
No injuries were reported.
BAFANA NZIMANDE / TimesLive