Tshwane, 30 July 2021 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) through its Customs National Rapid Response Team together with the South African Police Service seized illicit cigarettes from a number of Cape Town traders valued at R6-million.
During the raid on Thursday 29 July, 443 master cases each containing 50 cartons of various brands of cigarettes were seized in the intelligence-driven operation.
The operation was part of the heightened focus on illicit trade in cigarettes and tobacco products by SARS to protect the local industry and broader economy. The involvement of the other enforcement agencies reflects a whole of government approach in which various departments co-operate for more effective use of resources, greater impact and visibility.
SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said the import of illicit cigarettes and other goods such as clothing and textiles, counterfeit medicines or remedies, as well as second hand motor vehicles, amongst, others destroys local industry and contributes to the shedding of jobs.
“These activities also rob the country of much needed revenue that enables government to deliver basic services to the poor and vulnerable, such as old age pensions, and offer relief to struggling businesses and their employees following the recent riots.”
He added that there were also health risks for consumers as illegally imported cigarettes do not comply with South African health regulations and pose a serious health risk to smokers.
“There is also a strong connection between these activities and international crime syndicates involved in human trafficking, gun-running, drug-smuggling and terrorism.
“SARS has a mandate to facilitate legitimate trade will not tolerate illicit trade that harms our economy and our people, which is aligned with our strategic objective to make it hard and costly for those who do not comply with our tax and customs and excise legislation.”
See photographs of the raid in Cape Town below.
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