To Whom it May Concern:

You may or may not be aware of the imminent changes in customs legislation the industry is facing, which will effect both importers, exporters, clearing agents, customs brokers, carriers and the like. Over the next few weeks we will be bringing you some questions and answers provided by SARS in order to shed some light on the developments taking place behind the scenes and how they will affect you.

Herewith Q&A 1 to 4 of 26 – Quote:


1. Why modernise customs law?

In an ever changing and complex international, regional and national environment, Customs plays a critical role in supporting Government’s programmes to promote economic growth, job creation and social cohesion.

The Customs and Excise Act, 1964, has not kept pace with the changing focus of customs work or with the radical changes to the environment in which international trade is conducted, particularly the rapid growth in the use of information technology and the exchange of electronic data.

In its current form, our customs legislation is unable to respond to new risks, it is furthermore not business friendly and also needs to be easier to understand and use in order to provide certainty to traders and travellers as well as to Customs.

2. What are some of the benefits of the new Acts?

The CCA and CDA are modern pieces of legislation aiming to simplify customs administration and to provide a platform for customs modernisation. They are aligned to the Constitution and were benchmarked against other customs administrations and international conventions such as the Revised Kyoto Convention, which aim to harmonise, secure and facilitate international trade. The Acts provide end-to-end supply chain visibility for SARS, due to mandatory electronic submission of communications, advance cargo reporting, improved sealing provisions and the requirement of various electronic notifications throughout the process.

The Acts are furthermore written in plain language and the material covered is arranged in a logical and systematic way, with topic-specific Chapters. The Rules also follow the arrangement of the Acts and each rule is linked to a specific enabling provision in the relevant Act. This enables people to whom the Acts apply to find provisions applicable to specific subject matters, for example a specific customs procedure, in an easier manner.

The Acts provide flexible warehousing and manufacturing options which will enhance South Africa’s role as a distribution hub and stimulate industrialisation. The Acts also support the National Development Plan to promote exports and business competiveness, stimulating domestic manufacturing and supporting SMMEs.

3. What will be the impact of the new legislation on customs stakeholders?

When the Acts are implemented, there will be an impact on all customs clients, particularly in relation to system, process and policy changes. There will also be new compliance measures for traders and changes to the penalties regime.

An example of the type of impact that the new legislative regime may have on trade can be illustrated by the Chapter on warehousing. Various stakeholders, including warehouse licensees, licensed carriers, importers and exporters, customs brokers and owners of goods and agents representing foreign clients will be impacted by the changes in the warehousing regime. These changes include the following:

  • Application for new licences
  • New receipt and delivery notification requirements by  public and private warehouse licensees and licensed carriers
  • Storage of free circulation goods with goods not in free circulation
  • Electronic inventory management system
  • Periodic goods accounting reporting
  • Permissible operations in a warehouse.

4. What is the importance of reporting and what are its benefits?

Reporting of information by third parties enables Customs to risk assess information about vessels, aircraft, trains, vehicles, passengers, crew and cargo entering or leaving the Republic.

The benefits of the reporting requirements include the following:

  • It enhances supply chain security, enabling Customs to detect the importation or exportation of prohibited goods into and out of the Republic
  • It contributes to fiscal assurance
  • It supports effective customs control over the movement of means of transport and cargo
  • It enables planning by the customs authority
  • It establishes cargo visibility to determine the physical status of goods
  • It gives an indication of which cargo is landed, short shipped, damaged, destroyed, lost, unaccounted for and in excess.

Source: SARS

Should you have any questions please feel free to send your questions to and we will be sure to get back to you.