Law stops labels that say imported goods are locally made

South Africa has passed a law that will regulate the "country of origin" labelling on imported goods and textiles, it was announced on Thursday.

Signed by Trade and Industry Minister, Mandisi Mpahlwa, the Merchandise Marks Act is expected to curb false trade descriptions of goods and their sale.

The act follows an investigation into the influx of imported goods into the country, which found that retailers have been passing off imported garments as locally produced goods.

"Much of this merchandise and many of these goods are imported into the country with misleading labels, which state that goods or finished products are from South Africa when in fact they are not," the Trade and Industry Department said.

The act bans the sale and import of textiles without a label showing where they were produced. If imported material was used when producing a garment locally, then this information must also be displayed on the label.

The department plans to work with the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and the South African Bureau of Standards to ensure that regulations are enforced.

"SARS will randomly detain consignments to conduct inspections, and goods that do not comply with the origin-labelling requirement will be seized," it said.

Contravention of the act is punishable by a fine not exceeding R5000, three years' imprisonment or both. - I-Net Bridge