What is it?
Postal articles include both ordinary and registered letters:
- Imported into South Africa:
- For delivery in South Africa by the South African Postal Office (SAPO); or
- In transit to another country through South Africa; and
- Posted in South Africa for export from South Africa through SAPO.
The particulars reflected on the label shall be deemed a declaration for Customs purposes, however in certain circumstances Customs may request the importer or exporter to complete and submit the Customs clearance declaration (CCD) with the necessary supporting documents, such as a permit.
Certain items may be prohibited from being imported or exported into or from the Republic while others may be cleared under certain conditions only such as under a permit, certificate or licence. Refer to the Consolidated List of Prohibited and Restricted Goods available on the SARS website.
In the event the goods or parcels have been stopped or detained, SAPO informs the sender or recipient of the outcome of inspection as well as the conditions or terms that must be met. In some cases a full clearance is needed for more information, you can go to on either import or export. In South Africa, the Post Office acts on behalf of SARS when goods are sent by post.
Goods that must be entered at a Customs branch office includes but not limited to:
- Goods for warehousing
- Goods for removal in bond
- Goods under a heading or item of Schedule No. 1 which requires a permit/certificate or condition to be complied with
- Goods under any item of Schedule No. 3 , 4, or 6. The exceptions being:
- used personal effects in terms of item 407.01
- unsolicited gifts in terms of item 412.10
- goods exported for processing / repair and registered for exportation / re-importation in terms of item 409.00 – On re-importation the SA Post Office collects tax on behalf of customs on the cost of processing /repair.
- Where the exporter intends to claim a Drawback or a refund of duty in respect of the provision of Schedule no. 5 or 6, the goods must be entered for export on the prescribed form.
- Gift – A gift is classified as any item sent from a natural person abroad to another natural person in the Republic that is unsolicited by the recipient. These include but are not limited to weddings, birthdays, etc.
- In terms of item 412.10 – A person can receive two gifts per calendar year, of which the value must not exceed R1 400 for each parcel on which the duty will be rebated.
- Please note that the following consumables are excluded from the rebate:
- Tobacco (Including cigarettes and cigars)
- Customs Charges – Should the value of the parcel exceed R1 400, customs charges will be paid on the total price actually paid for the item. On gift parcels where the contents are intended for more than one person and the total declared is more than R1 400, customs charges will be paid by the recipients as the rebate cannot be split and the gifts cannot be linked to people other than the recipient.
Top tip: Some commodities are subject to inspections by the relevant government department before being cleared or dispatched to its intended destination:
- All Medications (including prescriptions, vitamins, enhancers, skin lightening creams, herbal products, slimming products inclusive of tea and coffees etc.) are subject to inspection by South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA)
- Plants, vegetables, etc. are subject to inspection by the Department of Agriculture
- Animals and their articles thereof are subject to inspection by the State Vet
- Please allow up to a period of 48 working hours for the inspection process to be finalised.
In the event the goods or parcels have been stopped or detained, the SA Postal Office (SAPO) informs the sender or recipient of the outcome of inspection as well as the conditions or terms that must be met. For more information, see the International Mail External Policy.
For SA Postal Office queries which also include International parcel tracking queries, you can contact them on:
- Track and Trace: 0860 111 502 or [email protected]
- Speed Services Couriers: 0860 023 133 or [email protected]
- Post Boxes: 0860 086 860
The tracking of parcels within the SAPO Johannesburg International Mail Centre may also be followed up via:
- 011- 961 6006/7/8/9/10/16 and
- 011- 961 6053/6020/6107.
If the SA Postal Office has notified you that you need to contact SARS Customs, you can send an email to the relevant office:
- Cape Town: [email protected]
- The Johannesburg and Durban email centres are in the process of re-instating their email addresses.
For any other SARS Customs queries, please call the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 277 or visit your nearest SARS Branch Office.