Police seized tinned goods clearly marked, “Specially Packed For Feeding Programmes. Not For Resale,” from the Worthy Mart Atlantic Cash & Carry in Biscay Road on Wednesday April 29.
Shopping was brought to a standstill for some time as police officers interviewed the two Chinese men who appeared to be in charge of the shop but denied they were the owners. The shop was locked, but several community members were still inside as police attempted to get to the bottom of the matter.
While the police investigation proceeded the community members demanded to know where the Lucky Star tinned pilchards were purchased.
The issue was first raised when the tinned fish were purchased at a foreign-owned spaza shop, Juda Stores in Nemato. Customers began to ask questions. Under pressure from the community one of the spaza shop owners directed them to the Worthy Mart Atlantic Cash & Carry where more of the illegally sold tinned fish were found.
Despite a language barrier, police officers attempted to get to the bottom of the matter, but community members continuously interrupted the questioning, demanding to know from the Chinese men present where the items came from. Giving contradicting answers to the questions posed only led to more suspicion on the part of community members.
The shop staff could not produce invoices as it was claimed the delivery occurred four months earlier.
Speaking on behalf of the community members, local EFF leader Xolisa Runeli explained how the situation came about.
“Someone went to buy this tinned fish from one of our African brothers and he came across this writing where it says specially packed for feeding programmes, not for resale,” he said.
“The community were alarmed as this product is the same one that SASSA beneficiaries are getting. The question is who is selling these things and where are they coming from?
“There is a good chance that there is a high level of corruption here by SASSA or whoever in government. We want the source,” Runeli said.
Provincial SAPS did not respond to TotT’s e-mailed queries about the matter.