Knowledge of the microbiological quality and prevalence of antibiotic resistance and virulence genes in bacterial isolates from leafy green vegetables supplied by formal suppliers (retailers) and informal suppliers (street vendors) in South Africa is limited. Because leafy vegetables have been implicated in foodborne disease outbreaks worldwide, 180 cabbage and spinach samples were collected from three major retailers and nine street vendors in Johannesburg, South Africa. Escherichia coli and coliforms were enumerated using Petrifilm plates. The prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, and Shigella was determined using real-time PCR analysis. Identities of presumptive E. coli isolates from the fresh produce were confirmed using matrix-assisted laser desorption–ionization time of flight mass spectroscopy. Isolates were characterized using phenotypic (antibiotic resistance) and genotypic (phylogenetic and virulence gene) analysis. Hygiene indicator bacteria levels on spinach from formal and informal retailers exceeded the maximum level specified by the Department of Health guidelines for fresh fruit and vegetables. E. coli counts for street vendor spinach were higher (P < 0.0789) than those for retailer spinach. E. coli was present in only two cabbage samples, at 0.0035 CFU/g. L. monocytogenes and Salmonella were detected in 7.2 and 5% of the 180 samples, respectively, based on real-time PCR analysis; Shigella was not detected. Of the 29 spinach E. coli isolates, 37.9% were multidrug resistant. Virulence genes eae and stx1 were present in 14 and 3% of the spinach E. coli isolates, respectively; the stx2 gene was not detected. Eighty-six percent of these isolates belonged to phylogroup A, 3% belonged to group C, 7% belonged to group E, and 3% belonged to clade 1. The results from the current exploratory study on the microbiological quality of spinach bought from selected retailers highlight the need for continued surveillance on a larger scale, especially in the informal sector, to characterize the potential health risks to the consumer.