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MBABANE – The country has been hit by a market of fake sanitary towels which were branded under a most trusted and loved product name.

The Citizen news, which is a South African publication, on Tuesday reported that cops cracked down on the illegal sanitary towels. According to the publication, the suspected syndicate was caught repackaging the cheap products as the original brands. The products were found at an illegal manufacturing firm at Rocky’s Drift, known as Emkhiweni in Nelspruit, South Africa. It was further alleged that the Chinese owners imported the goods and repacked them into packages of South African known brands. According to the publication, a total of 14 undocumented migrants employed at the factory were arrested, including 12 Malawians and two Chinese workers. They are expected to appear at the White River Magistrates Court soon.

It was reported that thousands of illegal sanitary towels, cosmetics and containers of shoe polish, were seized by a joint South African police operation on Tuesday morning. The raid, it was reported, also saw E16 000 in notes as well as several bags of coins confiscated. These brands are then allegedly smuggled into the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries mainly Swaziland and Zimbabwe. Customers have been fooled to think they were buying the original product but to their surprise, discovered that inside the package, it was a different poor quality brand. News of the fake sanitary towels was shared by disappointed customers through social media platforms.
The consumers alleged that the pads were rebranded to appear to be the real brand. Indeed, this was confirmed when this reporter went to buy the sanitary towels from one of the shops in the capital city. The package had only two original pads while the rest were fake.

Director of Health Services Dr Vusi Magagula said they were not aware of the fake products said to be smuggled into the country. Dr Magagula said now that they were aware, they would set in motion the response to the despicable act.
Swaziland Standards Authority (SWASA) Chief Executive Officer Sihle Zwane said the national standard body was not aware of the matter and were shocked it was happening in the country. However, she said the ministry of health was better placed to comment on the issue. She said basically, they set the national standards which are voluntary and only become mandatory when referenced in technical regulation. Zwane said in terms of the compliance, there were different regulators managing those standards. Swaziland Consumer Association Chairman Bongani Bhanyaza Mdluli, said they condemned the act of smuggling the illegal sanitary towels in the strongest terms. Mdluli said this was actually a violation of the dignity of women and those involved should be dealt with accordingly. He said this was theft through misrepresentation.

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