Indian traders selling goods,flouting SA laws: SATA

Indian traders selling goods,flouting SA laws: SATA

Indian traders selling goods,flouting SA laws: SATA

Indian traders, allegedly flouting South African laws by selling consumer goods at fairs here, have been accused of "raping the South African economy" by a leader of an alliance representing South African Indian retailers.

The South African Traders' Association (SATA), an alliance of high-end Indian clothing retailers, has alleged that the Indian traders at fairs are infringing South African laws by selling their good here.

SATA has lodged a complaint with the provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal, where most of South Africa's 1.2 million Indians reside, and sought immediate actions as many of its members faced bankruptcy in the wake of the many fairs held across the country recently, especially preceding Diwali.

SATA Secretary Satish Dhupelia told the local weekly Sunday Times Extra here that Indian traders were "raping" the local economy.The organisation alleged that about 160 million rand was being taken out of the country by traders from India who were neither helping in creating sustainable jobs.

Indian traders have been accused of selling products to consumers local on permits which only allow them to bring samples into the country for securing deals.Some of them have also been accused of bringing in their goods through neighbouring countries to avoid paying customs duties, and then selling these products at lower rates.

"If (South Africans) go to India, you would be required to have a business permit to sell stuff," Dhupelia told the weekly. "We are not against fair competition, but we are against unfair practice. All we want is to level the playing fields."

SATA has also received support from Durban City Manager Mike Sutcliffe, who told the weekly: "I have urged the authorities to ensure that the customs agencies, South African Revenue Services, National Intelligence and South African Police are present and that every single item which is on sale was brought in legitimately and was not smuggled in."

Meanwhile, local consumers are lapping up the Indian goods on offer, saying that the Indian traders at fairs sell quality goods at far lower prices than local traders.

"I bought excellent outfits for myself and my three daughters for Diwali for less than I would have paid at a local store for just my kurti alone," Ranee Pillay told PTI.
The retail fairs held in South Africa by India traders have come under attack on several occasions in recent years from local businessmen, who claim that they are being forced to close down as the Indian traders are unfairly selling goods much cheaper than the prices at which locals import them.