Monday, November 14, 2022

CoCT warns of scammers purporting to be health officials for free food

The City of Cape Town’s Health Department has warned business owners to be aware of scamsters purporting to be health officials trying to score free meals from restaurants.

It’s understood that persons who claim to be working for the Western Cape Health Department’s Head Office threaten to close premises down and attempt to force businesses to renew their Health Certification, claiming that a Certificate of Acceptability issued to a business preparing food expires every two years.  

Mayco Member for Community Services and Health, Patricia van der Ross, said the City is aware of three cases in the Kalk Bay, Muizenberg and Bergvliet areas where the scam has been attempted. 

She added that in all three cases, the local Environmental Health Practitioners who service the areas are well known and the business owners showed the criminals the door and reported the matter to the City.

‘’Criminals are finding more inventive ways to scam people out of their money and scoring free meals as in this case. Not only is this fraudulent and illegal behaviour, but many restaurants are still recovering from lockdown and can ill afford to be scammed in this manner.’’

Van Der Ross advised business owners to consult their local Environmental Health office or the City’s website, if they are unsure about credentials

‘’Only the City of Cape Town Health Department has the legal mandate to issue COAs to food premises which, when issued, are printed on specifically manufactured paper with a holographic City logo that prevents it from being replicated. 

‘’All City staff carry sturdy identification cards with the City logo that specifies their designation and department they are working for. In their capacity as City employees no one can request any rewards, gifts, favours and/or hospitality and do not have a general right to accept any of these.’’

The mayco member urged anyone who has been conned or threatened in this manner to please report it to the police and provide as much information as possible so that those responsible can be brought to book

‘’If you’re approached or anyone visits your premises and demands payment or any type of reward 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 EHPs,’ added Van der Ross.


Done By: Mitchum George

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