The South African Revenue Service (SARS) on Friday destroyed several imported illegal vehicles valued close to R4 million as part of a clampdown on non-compliance in various customs sectors.
This followed a two-day inter-governmental operation in Durban and the surrounding areas to tackle illicit trade. The operation got underway on Tuesday.
Over the past financial year, KwaZulu-Natal Customs officials confiscated 26 vehicles for various contraventions and these have now been forfeited to the state after following proper legal processes.
Of the 26 vehicles forfeited to the state in this financial year in KwaZulu-Natal, four were crushed today with 15 crushed in recent weeks. The remaining ones will be destroyed under Customs supervision in the coming weeks.
“The importation of second-hand imported vehicles is restricted into South Africa. Before the vehicles can be imported into South Africa, the client needs to obtain an import permit from the International Trade Administration Commission and also obtain a Letter of Authority from the National Regulator of Compulsory Specification.”
Previously, the seized second hand imported vehicles were sold at customs auction for export, but these vehicles invariably found their way back into South Africa, said the revenue service.
“This obviously has an impact on the local vehicle manufacturing industry, which contributes about 7.5% to the country’s gross domestic product. This important industry is hugely impacted by the unfair competition imposed by the influx of second hand vehicles.”
The same approach will be followed throughout the country, with Gauteng planned next followed by Limpopo. Currently, there are 317 vehicles which have been forfeited to the state nationally this financial year.
The operation in the Durban area involved other government departments with the focus being on clamping down on non-compliance relating to importation/exportation of goods, smuggling of illegal substances and the illegal storage/movement of second hand goods.
It included roadblocks at high risk areas, physical inspections of containers, cargo, bonded warehouses, patrols, vehicle check points, gate checks and vessel rummages.
Some of the successes of the operation include the detention of 260 second hand imported vehicles for further investigation into the validity of their importation. They were detected during inspections at two customs bonded warehouses on 20 November.
These cars are allowed to be in bonded warehouses for two years without having to pay duties.
In addition, there has also been a bust of suspected counterfeit clothing and textiles valued at approximately R6 million at King Shaka International Airport (KSIA) on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The goods were detected during random inspections in the cargo section at KSIA.