Man in court over 'expired' food ration packs for SANDF during lockdown

Police officers and members of the SANDF patrolled the streets and various hostels in Alexandra during the initial stages of the coronavirus lockdown. File photo.
Police officers and members of the SANDF patrolled the streets and various hostels in Alexandra during the initial stages of the coronavirus lockdown. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times/Alon Skuy

A 59-year-old man from Johannesburg is out on R50,000 bail after appearing in court on Monday over a tender that allegedly saw “best before” dates being altered on food ration packs during the lockdown deployment of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

Stephen Wallace Weir from Dainfern in Fourways appeared briefly in the Pretoria specialised commercial crimes court in connection with charges of fraud, theft, forgery and uttering and contravention of the Food, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said on Monday that a company, SERAC MRE (Pty) Ltd, was granted a tender by the department of defence to supply food patrol ration packs nationally for various divisions within the SANDF during its coronavirus deployment.

“SERAC MRE (Pty) Ltd had to supply ready-to-eat food packs that complied with the National Regulator for Compulsory Specification Act that includes promoting public health and safety, environmental protection and ensuring fair trade,” Mahanjana said in a statement.

“The company allegedly forged the dates in the boxes containing pre-packaged food rations by changing the labelling best before dates. It covered the original expiry dates by placing stickers over them with a new date giving a misleading and or false description.”

Weir was arrested on Monday after a police investigation. “This was subsequent to video clips of SANDF members that surfaced during the lockdown showing the discrepancy of the dates.”

The case was postponed to November 25 for a provisional trial date.

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