False organizers of events and scammers must refrain from misleading the public with the name of the government, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has warned.
The minister passed the strict warning after it appeared that a group of alleged businessmen had prosecuted the public to take part in a fake event branded as Ekurhuleni Black Suppliers Road Show.
Budding entrepreneurs desperately seeking information and opportunities were a particular target of the scammers.
Minister Zulu condemned the fraudulent use of her name, the department and other government leaders by faceless scammers, whose only goal, she said, is to deceive innocent civilians.
She further called on members of the community to be vigilant and to ensure that they are not deceived by similar arrangements.
"We urge all entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to verify suspicious information at our office," the ministry said in a statement.
The reaction came after the city of Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina denied that the subway sponsored the event. Posters circulating on social media claimed that the city cooperated with organizers.
Masina condemned the incorrect representations in a statement and indicated that an investigation had been carried out to determine whether a city official had agreed to use the metro brand.
"The city is fully committed to transparency on all information related to business and purchasing, and this information is free and available to the public.The city has started programs and roadshows such as Ntirhisano, in collaboration with SEDA and the Gauteng provincial government, to raise awareness about the opportunities in the city, all of which are done free of charge for the public ", said the metro in a statement. – SAnews.gov.za