Pretoria, 10 December 2015 – SARS’ today announced the deployment of over 200 volunteers to tighten border control and facilitate the movement of people and goods at critical border posts with immediate effect.
They are poised to assist the usual staff compliment during the festive season.
SARS spokesperson Sandile Memela said the measures were put in place to facilitate movement of people, vehicles and cargo and to prevent possible congestion as the increase in traveller movement, coupled with extended hours of operation over this peak period, put resources under severe pressure.
“We put the interests of all taxpayers first as we are a people-centred service organisation.
“As a result, SARS feels compelled to respond to the exceptionally high demand that develops over this time. We expect thousands of holiday travellers and migrant workers cross the border to spend time with their loved ones,” said Memela.
Over the years regular support was provided at Beitbridge and Lebombo borders over the festive season. But this will be expanded to more border posts, including Lesotho (Maseru Bridge, Ficksburg and Quachas Nek) and North West Province (Kopfontein and Ramabatlabama) to ensure efficient Customs operations.
The SARS volunteers will help with critical functional areas, such as traffic management in and outside the control area; one-stop processing areas, scanners and effective exception handling processes.
These functions contribute to efficient clearance of travellers and goods, and manage excessive queuing and long waiting times, while maintaining the Customs mandate at a high delivery service standard.
More than 200 staff members, who include senior leadership, have agreed to participate in this year’s festive volunteer programme. They will be deployed from tomorrow, 11 December 2015 to 10 January 2016.
The initiative forms part of a wider government programme involving a number of government t institutions, and is co-ordinated by the Border Control Operational Co-ordinating Committee (BCOCC).
All travellers are urged to take note of the following information which will assist in ensuring quick processing at the ports of entry:
- No person is allowed to take firearms through to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Botswana. Police Officials are no longer permitted to keep firearms for temporary storage – South African Police Services (SAPS);
- All South African registered vehicles to be taken to Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique should have the following documentation: (1) Vehicle Registration Documents, (2) if the vehicle is financed by the bank we need a letter from the financial institution/bank authorising the driver to take the vehicle out of the country, (3), if the vehicle is owned by the company we need an authorisation letter in company letterhead. This should include the vehicles insurances;
- Emergency passports will not be issued at the Port during the Festive Season. Passports are issued at Home Affairs offices at various towns/cities. No person including children will be allowed through the POE without a valid passport (at least one page of the passport should be unused);
- Foreign nationals entering the RSA should have a passport valid for 30 days after the expiry of the visit period;
- All travellers should ensure that they declare all goods in their possession with all necessary documentation such as invoices or proof of purchase. All imported second-hand clothing entering the country for purpose of trade/ re-sale needs to be accompanied by a permit from DTI (Department of Trade & Industry);
- All valuable items such as motorbikes, cameras and laptops are to be declared at Customs;
- No agricultural and animal products including live animals even for personal consumption are allowed to enter the country (RSA) without a permit. Such goods will be detained if permits are not available;
- All corpses (dead bodies) need a permit to enter or depart the country;
- Travellers going abroad or coming into the country are only allowed to bring medicine which will last for 30 days if they are in possession of the doctor prescription;
- People travelling to and from countries with the risk of yellow fever, must be in possession of a yellow fever certificate.