Beware of scammers

The City of Cape Town has warned business owners of an ongoing scam around the issuing of extended liquor trading hours. In the scam, people pose as City officials and allegedly issue fake approvals.

It appears that business owners unwittingly contract the services of unscrupulous consultants to facilitate their applications for extended liquor trading hours. There have been at least three such cases reported between August 2017 and July 2018, in Bellville, Parow and Khayelitsha.

“The phenomenon could possibly be widespread if business owners aren’t aware that they were conned. Also, they risk hefty fines or even arrest if they are found to be in possession of fake documentation,” said JP Smith, Mayco member for safety and security and social services.

“Our advice to businesses is two-fold. When starting your business or considering any amendments to your conditions of trade, rather consult your local environmental health office or the City’s website to determine what exactly you need, how to apply for it and what costs are applicable, if any.

“Secondly, if anyone comes to your premises and demands payment for any type of inspection or documentation, insist on checking their credentials and verifying their story with the local environmental health office. Business owners can also check the legitimacy of any documentation provided by a third party with their environmental health practitioners”.

In another scam, con artists are believed to be requesting payment for the issuing of certificates of acceptability (COA) for food premises.

City Health is aware of at least six cases in Mfulei, Kleinvlei, Nyanga, Strand and Lakeside between February and May this year where such scams have been carried out.