Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr Andries Nel, said today that joint operations South African Police Service (SAPS), National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), South African Revenue Service (SARS), the Film and Publication Board (FPB) during the past two years from 2010-12 have resulted in 272 arrests and in 264 persons being convicted and sentenced for intellectual property crimes such as “piracy.”

He was speaking after a Siyahlola Presidential Monitoring meeting with performing artists and the music industry at the Presidential Guesthouse in Tshwane.

The meeting was a follow up to an Presidential engagement with musicians and actors on 17 November 2009, where concerns and challenges were regarding copyright, piracy, airtime on radio and television, social welfare issues and taxation.

Deputy Minister Nel stated that, “We regard intellectual property rights crimes in a very serious light. According to studies conducted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) indicate clearly that copyright based industries contribute immensely to the GDP and employment of countries. In South Africa it is estimated that this industry contributes 4,11% and 4,08% to GDP and employment respectively.”

Nel added that R232 million in counterfeit goods were seized. SAPS coordinated search and seizure operations focussed on CDs and DVDs that resulted in R14 million worth of products being seized.

He indicated that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation of the SAPS  (“Hawks”) has 17 Commercial Crime Units and 2 task teams with dedicated capacity across all nine provinces to deal with intellectual property rights crimes. Operations focussing on the import, export, manufacture and distribution of counterfeit products are conducted on a regular basis.

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