by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SOUTH African authorities have seized illicit tobacco with an estimated value of over R219, 87 million (US$15,4 million) in the 2020/2021 financial year.
This amounts to a potential prejudice in duties and value-added tax (VAT) estimated at over R163 million.
The 1 150 seizures (181,6 million sticks) was a more than 100 percent increase against the previous financial year (2019/20) that yielded 445 seizures with a value of R103,5 million.
Most seizures of the cigarettes occurred at Beit Bridge, Groblers Bridge, Kopfontein, Lebombo and Skilpadshek border posts.
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) on Tuesday (today) began destroying more than 2 000 master boxes of illicit cigarettes with potential protected revenue estimated at R17,4 million in Pretoria.
Beyers Theron, Director: Customs Border Operations, Ports of Entry and Customs Compliance, said the cigarettes were either illicitly imported or illicitly manufactured in the country in contravention of Customs and Excise legislation.
He added that the seizure and destruction of illicit goods was an achievement based on the “whole of government approach” that is embedded in the Inter-Agency Working Group set up to deal with illicit trade in an integrated and coordinated manner.
Earlier this month, Customs officials at Beitbridge, supported by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), began destroying illicit cigarettes from previous seizures valued at over R30 million.
SARS recently established the National Rapid Response Team (NRRT) as an effort to compliment front-line operations and to provide agile and flexible deployment operations to major areas of risk.
NRRT is also responsible for rapid deployments at checkpoints at identified hotspots in all major provinces and ports of entry.
– CAJ News