Friday, 14 January 2022 16:17

Sihle Zikalala condemns the proliferation of counterfeit goods.

Staff Reporter.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has condemned what he has termed "an economic sabotage" after police seized over R1 billion worth of fake goods during law enforcement operations in the province.

Counterfeit goods with an estimated value of more than R1 billion were confiscated by police during the integrated multi-disciplinary law enforcement operations in KwaZulu-Natal in the past 12 months.

Zikalala revealed this during a law enforcement operation at Bayhead Road leading to the Durban Harbour which was targeted at ensuring compliance in the freight and logistics industry.

"The proliferation of counterfeit goods is tantamount to economic sabotage because these illicit activities steal the market share from legitimate businesses and has negative implications for economic growth,"Zikalala said.

He said that during the enforcement operation, five undocumented foreign truck drivers were ordered to disembark from their trucks and were arrested by police. 

The operation focused on verifying the validity of truck driver licenses and permits, inspecting documents of foreign truck drivers, searching trucks for prohibited, restricted and counterfeit goods, enforcement of traffic regulations and crime fighting.

Zikalala, who was joined by the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Neliswa Peggy Nkonyeni and MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ravi Pillay, said the enforcement operations aimed at addressing issues of compliance in the freight and logistics industry will be intensified.

The premier also said R3.3 billion is needed to repair wrecked infrastructure and homes that was caused by the recent storms.

It also wants the national government to declare a Provincial State of Disaster in areas where storms ravaged settlements and infrastructure.

Declaring a state of disaster will help the provincial government unlock desperately needed funds to repair damages.

The Provincial Disaster Management Centre said there were approximately 205 incidents of strong winds, lightning, structural fires, heavy rains, hailstorms and structural collapse between November and January.

The storms which besieged most parts of KZN recently have left a trail of destruction affecting homes, schools, roads and other critical infrastructure.

"This inclement weather affected 2 068 households and 10 972 people. At least 773 houses were totally destroyed and 2 095 houses were partially destroyed," said Zikalala.

"Unfortunately, 25 people lost their lives as a result of lightning and drowning incidents and one person is still missing," he said.

The storms ravaged several parts of KZN including uMgungundlovu District (Umgeni, Msunduzi and Mshwathi Municipalities), King Cetshwayo District (uMlalazi, Umthonjaneni, and City of uMhlathuze Municipalities), Ilembe District (Mandeni, Maphumulo and Ndwedwe Municipalities), Umkhanyakude District (Jozini and Mtubatuba Municipalities), and Zululand District (Abaqulusi, Ulundi and Nongoma Municipalities).

A total of 186 schools have been affected. The main concern now is that most schools are due to resume their academic year on Monday 18 January.

"The province is currently working around the clock to ensure that affected schools have adequate accommodation for learning and administrative purposes," said Zikalala.

The number of roads and bridges damaged will require betterment and re-gravelling, new bridges, causeways, pothole repairs and drainage improvements.