Pretoria, 27 July 2018 – SARS wishes to clarify media reports that Customs officials discovered R4 and R5 rifles, 7.62mm light machine guns and ammunition on-board an aircraft at Waterkloof Airforce base last Saturday, 23 July 2018.
SARS wishes to state that the reports contain factual inaccuracies and that we were not afforded an opportunity to comment on the reports prior to release. The accurate chronology of events on this matter is as follows:
- The specific aircraft, a chartered flight, which was scheduled to depart from OR Tambo International Airport on Friday, 22 July, was cancelled. We can confirm that our Customs and Immigrations officials were informed by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) of the flight’s schedule to be able to conduct the necessary inspections as per normal processes, including inspecting the flight for prohibited and restricted goods.
- Our Customs officials were working with colleagues in the SANDF to clear the aircraft, and we can report that neither weapons nor ammunition were found in the flight or passenger luggage during the inspection of the flight and documents presented to the Customs officials.
Finally, SARS wishes to pledge its full commitment to cooperation with the SANDF and other relevant government agencies at national points of entry in the effort to protect the interests of the country.