Pretoria, 25 January 2019 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) celebrated the International Customs Day (ICD) a day earlier today to honour the men and women who protect the country’s borders and help facilitate trade.
For almost seven decades since 1953 the ICD has, every year, without fail held and highlighted celebrations to mark the inaugural session of Customs Cooperation Council (CCC).
For this year the International Customs Day (ICD) 2019, which is decided by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), has chosen the theme to be “SMART borders for seamless Trade, Travel and Transport”.
To mark the significant event, SARS’s Customs and Excise division held celebrations at two venues, that is, the ICD in Pretoria and at Beitbridge Port of Entry in Limpopo.
The main event in Pretoria was headlined by the Acting Chief Officer: Customs & Excise: Beyers Theron who delivered the keynote address.
The event took the form of a trade exhibition, with a number of stalls highlighting some of Customs’ strategic projects, including the Preferred Trader programme, New Customs Acts Programme (NCAP), IT capability, Partnerships, new e-Traveller Card and focus on the illicit economy.
Importantly, in Beitbridge, the event was jointly celebrated with officials from the, South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and highlighted some of the co-operative projects that the two administrations are working on together.
Both events included the traditional issuing of WCO certificates to various SARS staff and external stakeholders who have made positive contribution in pursuit of effective and smart control of the movement of goods.
“This year’s theme seeks to highlight the need for all of us in the agency to ensure that there’s swift and smooth cross-border movement of goods, people and means of transport,” said Theron.
SARS maintains that it is a collective responsibility as customs and border regulatory stakeholders to support efforts to grow the economy by ensuring that we bring the concept of seamless movement of legitimate goods and people to the border environment by the application of the SMART principles.
The concept of SMART borders provides a blueprint that can be used and applied by customs and other border regulatory partners in order to reduce the time and costs spends associated with cross-border traffic by strengthening the whole-of-government endeavour in that regard.
By SMART we mean that Customs, in partnership with other border regulatory stakeholders, should ensure that the following guiding principles of a SMART border are addressed:
- Secure – This aspect calls for Customs, partner government stakeholders and economic operators to pursue the common objective of enhancing supply-chain security and efficiency based on mutual trust and transparency while safeguarding revenue collection.
- Measurable – Measuring the actual performance of Customs and border regulatory stakeholders in facilitating trade and controlling borders, as well as evaluating overall border performance, are two major pillars at the heart of sound decision-making using, for example, instruments such as the WCO Time Release Study (TRS) to accurately measure elements of trade flows and identify bottlenecks so that appropriate decisions can be formulated and implemented.
- Automated – Automation underpins every aspect of a modern Customs administration and, by extension and in partnership with border regulatory stakeholders, also of a seamless border environment.
- Risk Management-based – An intelligence-driven and data-enabled risk management framework allows Customs and border regulatory stakeholder partners to be more effective at all levels, especially in decision-making and targeted interventions.
- Technology-driven – Digital disruption has brought about new opportunities and challenges for Customs and partner government stakeholders, which triggers the need to explore the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions.
To ensure the integrity of cargo the new SARS cargo system is capable of processing both manual and electronic seal data and tracking that through a number of facilities (terminals and depots) as the cargo move through the supply chain.
“In conclusion, these measures will enable us to deal decisively with illegal and counterfeit goods, which contribute to the illicit economy and loss of revenue to the state, said the acting chief officer.”
|Guard of Honour welcomes Deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele, Acting Chief Officer: Beyers Theron and Acting Commissioner: Mark Kingon at the ICD celebrations in Pretoria||Colonel Baloyi from SADF and Group Executive: Customs Strategy & Policy: Coffet Lebepe led an inspection parade during the International Customs Day celebration at Beitbridge|