DURBAN – FOUR people were arrested on suspicion of being illegal immigrants during business inspections conducted by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ravi Pillay, in uPhongolo on Sunday morning.
The four, who include two Chinese nationals, were found working at various business establishments and when asked to produce documentation showing they were in the country legally, they failed to do so. They were detained pending investigations into their immigration status.
The business inspections led by MEC Pillay and comprising officials from Labour, Health, Immigration Services and KZN Gaming and Betting, focused on compliance with business regulations and with Covid-19 regulations.
Two outlets, a hair salon and a supermarket, were shut down temporarily to ensure they attend to and address some of the safety concerns identified during the inspections.
More than 100 kilograms of meat products which were past their sell-by dates and other expired food products were also removed from the shelves of a retail supermarket in the area.
Some of the sell-by dates on the products date back to March.
MEC Pillay expressed concerns about the sale of expired foods saying similar transgressions had been witnessed during similar campaigns in other parts of the province.
He stressed that such products pose a health risk to the consumers and were a violation of consumer rights.
He said the inspections were not targeting foreign nationals.
“We are part of Africa and the world but we want to ensure that everyone who is in the country is here legally because that helps us to also protect them from exploitation, ” the MEC said.
MEC Pillay said it was in everybody’s interest to obey the Covid-19 regulations as this would help us avoid an increase in infections which would lead to tighter regulations.
Pillay also handed over two industrial sewing machines and two over-locker sewing machines to two cooperatives in the area. This, he said was part of the government’s ongoing support to cooperatives and SMMEs.
He further announced that the department will, within the next three months, make disbursements to more than 1000 operation Vula beneficiaries.
He added however that the support to cooperatives extended beyond funding disbursements as the department wanted to ensure that small businesses are sustainable in the long term.
MEC Pillay said SMMEs and cooperatives had a very big role to play in the economic recovery efforts.