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Man charged for selling counterfeit booze

A Chinese national has been charged with selling counterfeit and or expired alcohol at a liquor outlet in Odendaalsrus, about 165km north-east of Bloemfontein.

The man was arrested following a raid by the police together with the provincial economic development department’s Consumer Protection Unit and the Free State Gambling, Liquor and Tourism Authority.

The department says it took action after a community member warned people through a Facebook post earlier this week saying they should not buy alcohol from Odendaal Bottle Store near the taxi rank in town as it was “rotten”.

“The department . . . swiftly responded by raiding the area on July 7 . . . (including) the said liquor outlet and found it dealing in illicit alcohol,” read part of the statement it released after the operation.

“Even the labels as well as bottle caps were tampered with,” it added.

Large amounts of the alleged illicit alcohol were confiscated and the suspect was charged under the Counterfeit Goods Act.

Investigations are continuing.

Economic Development MEC Makalo Mohale commended the team for the work and sent a stern warning to illicit alcohol traders.

“Through collective operations such as this one, we will reclaim our economy, reconstruct and restore it to our people,” said Makalo.

He said he is deeply concerned with the safety risks associated with the consumption of illicit alcohol and will leave no stone unturned to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

“This is one of the key elements that the draft (Free State Integrated Local Economic and Transformation) Bill seeks to provide for . . . including the promotion and development of the Free State economy and to create a conducive environment for (business),” he said.

Mohale urged members of the public who are aware of illegal and illicit sales of alcohol to immediately report to nearest police station or to contact the Consumer Protection Unit.

The Bill seeks, among others, to regulate the licensing of businesses; provide for exclusive ownership and operation of certain specified businesses categories for citizens; regulate foreign ownership of certain business categories through prescribed quotas; designate certain commodities for mandatory enterprise development by all businesses and provincial state organs; and provide for mandatory and exclusive sourcing and procurement by state organs of locally produced goods. – Staff Reporter

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