After the death of two young boys, who reportedly ate poisonous biscuits purchased from a foreign owned spaza shop, there has been increased legal scrutiny for those operating spaza stores in Phiri. Operation Dudula was a combined operation between law enforcement and members of the general public that resulted 25 foreign owners of spaza shops being arrested.
This incident occurred in the early hours of 1 October 2023. Four children, from Soweto’s Naledi Community, fell seriously sick after buying biscuits at a spaza store owned by a foreigner. Two of the four children died tragically, and the other two remain in a critical condition in hospital.
A community-wide movement has been born out of anger at the hygiene and safety standards in spazas owned by foreigners. In a crackdown against these foreign-owned spaza shops several foreigners were arrested and another attempted to escape but was captured by residents. This is the clear message of the local community: They want to close these spaza shops permanently. This issue is sure to remain a hot topic until the demands of the community are met. The community is concerned about its safety and wellbeing, and will not stop until they are assured.