Sars destroys 13,000 bales of clothing and 15 cars in Durban clampdown
Customs officials from revenue service Sars began destroying several illegally imported vehicles and clothing valued at more than R7m in Durban on Friday as they clamp down on illegal imports that harm the economy.
More than 13,000 bales of illegally imported clothing, valued at R6.75m, as well as 15 vehicles will be destroyed during the day.
According to Sars customs executive Patrick Moeng, Sars has also destroyed 11,514 bales of clothing and footwear valued R2.5m and 57 vehicles valued at R7.1m since April this year.
He said iIllegal trade takes place through various mechanisms. These include smuggling (bringing goods into the country undetected, or exporting them undetected), fraudulent shipment of goods via a third country to take advantage of preferential import duties, and falsely declaring goods under tariff headings that do not attract high duties.
A high-level intergovernmental task team was established recently between the department of trade and industry, the International Trade and Administration Commission and Sars to tackle illicit trade, with a focus on clothing, textiles, leather and footwear, scrap metal and gold.
Sars as a member of this task team has been working intensively in three key provinces with the highest import volumes of clothing and textiles. The provinces are Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
Moeng said the devastating impact of illegal imports includes:
• import duties and VAT due to Sars is not paid, which is a loss to the fiscus
• the local economy is distorted in the affected value chain
• a decline in the country’s ability to manufacture goods locally
• job losses, particularly in the manufacturing sector
• contravention of intellectual property rights
• innovation by local companies in these sectors is dampened
• corruption is fuelled by these illegal activities.
Moeng said illegal imports also pose a significant health risk for consumers through the availability of under-priced and unregulated cigarettes that conflict with the government’s health policy.