Durban, 23 November 2018 – Earlier today, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) destroyed a number of illegal vehicles as part of a clampdown on non-compliance in various Customs sectors.
This followed a two-day inter-governmental operation in Durban and surrounding areas to tackle illicit trade.
Over the past financial year, KZN Customs officials have confiscated 26 vehicles for various contraventions and these have now been forfeited to the state after following proper legal processes. They have a collective estimated  market value of almost R4 million.
The importation of second-hand imported vehicles is restricted into South Africa. Before the vehicles can be imported into South Africa, the client needs to obtain an import permit from the International Trade Administration Commission and also obtain a Letter of Authority from the National Regulator of Compulsory Specification.
Previously, the seized second hand imported vehicles were sold at Customs auction for export, but these vehicles invariably found their way back into SA. This obviously has an impact on the local vehicle manufacturing industry, which contributes about 7.5% to the country’s gross domestic product. This important industry is hugely impacted by the unfair competition imposed by the influx of second hand vehicles.
Of the 26 vehicles forfeited to the state in this financial year in KZN, four were crushed today with 15 crushed in recent weeks. The remaining ones will be destroyed under Customs supervision in coming weeks.
The same approach will be followed throughout the country, with Gauteng planned next and then Limpopo. There are currently 317 vehicles which have been forfeited to the state nationally this financial year.
The high-visibility two-day operation (20 and 21 November) in the Durban area involved Other Government Departments such as SAPS, Immigration, Cross Border Road Traffic Agency and EThekwini Metro Police.
The main focus of the operation was to clamp down on non-compliance relating to importation/exportation of goods, smuggling of illegal substances and the illegal storage/movement of second hand goods.
It included roadblocks at high risk areas, physical inspections of containers, cargo, bonded warehouses, patrols, vehicle check points, gate checks and vessel rummages.
So far, some of the successes of the operation include:
  • Detention of 260 second-hand imported vehicles for further investigation into the validity of their importation. They were detected during inspections at two Customs bonded warehouses on 20 November. These cars are allowed to be in bonded warehouses for two years without having to pay duties. However, the time had expired which means they were contravening their licensing conditions
  • Bust of suspected counterfeit clothing and textiles valued at approximately R6 million at King Shaka International Airport (KSIA) on 20 and 21 November. The goods were detected during random inspections in the cargo section at KSIA
  • Discovery of 30kg of compressed dagga in a car stopped at a roadblock in Tongaat on 21 November. The dagga, which was packed in suitcases in the boot of the car, was positively identified by Customs detector dogs. It is valued at about R2 million
  • A gate check at the Durban harbour on 20 November led to the discovery of suspected counterfeit nappies which were packed into in a 40ft container. A full unpack is being done today to establish their authenticity. 
Working closely with other Government departments, Customs will continue to roll out operations country-wide to address illicit trade along the entire Customs value chain in order to protect the economy and society.
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