21. Will existing Customs registration details, such as current Customs codes, be allowed for the purpose of new registrations under the Customs Control Act?

The CCA anticipates in sections 931(2) and 933(2) that a link will be maintained between the registration or licence in terms of the current Act and the registration or licence in terms of the CCA. How this link will be maintained is the subject of current systems development.

22. Please can you advise how the OGAs such as Port Health are going to be handled with regards to the new legislation? My understanding is that we will only get a release once the cargo is physically checked in. If this is the case and we can only then request a Port Health release, will this not delay the delivery of cargo?

The CCA provides that the customs authority is the final release authority i.e. the goods will be detained for the OGA’s (now called the “administering authority”) and after the OGA’s have requested the customs authority to terminate the detention, the goods will be released by the customs authority, provided the clearance declaration satisfies the requirements of the customs legislation.  If the goods are cleared prior to arrival, the notice of detention to the OGA and the customs broker can be communicated prior to arrival to facilitate the process. Electronic communication throughout the supply chain, including with OGA’s, will be important to ensure a seamless movement of goods.

23. Can you confirm that in the new Customs Control Act under chapter 4 section 89, it states declarations must be submitted within three working days from arrival? I assume this is calculated from arrival at first port of entry and just means the entry has to be submitted, not necessarily cleared and released from customs?

Section 90(1)(a)  of the CCA  provides that a clearance declaration must be submitted to the customs authority if the goods were imported on board a foreign-going vessel, within three working days of arrival of the goods at the customs seaport where the goods are to be off-loaded from the vessel. However, please also note the provisions of section 90(4) which requires a clearance declaration in respect of containerised goods that are consigned for delivery to licensed container terminal or depot situated inland (e.g. City Deep) to be submitted at least three calendar days before arrival of the goods at the customs seaport. The submission of a clearance declaration within the prescribed periods does not include release but it must have been accepted by the customs authority in terms of section 171.

24. Can you also confirm that if the goods arrive by air, the same rules would apply? Also, if the declaration is submitted within three days and not released, can the goods be held in a bond store and not handed to the States Warehouse?

In terms of section 181 of the CCA, the “release agent” (the licensee of the customs controlled area where the goods are located before their release) cannot deliver goods to any person other than on authority of a release notification. In other words, the goods will stay at the customs controlled area, and could be kept in temporary storage.

If the customs authority for some reason decides to detain the goods in terms of Chapter 34 of the CCA, the goods must in terms of section 759 either be kept at the premises where they were detained, or removed to a State Warehouse or to licensed premises determined by the customs authority.

25. Could you please advise when the new registration date will come into effect and possibly supply the application form or website where such form may be found?

The new registration and licence application system is still in the process of development by SARS. Once the system has been tested and proven stable, SARS will give adequate notice to all stakeholders about its availability for the submission of applications in terms of the Customs Control Act, 2014.

26. Kindly provide clarity on the following:

  • Rule 5.7: What is the maximum period for storage of goods under a customs procedure at places other than authorised places?

It is not clear whether this question relates in particular to storage of goods under warehousing procedure at a redirected place. It is to be noted that redirections may be authorised in relation to goods under other customs procedures as well, eg. section 208 (transit), 230 (excise warehouse transit), 415 (inward processing) and 442(2) (home use processing).

Section 918 must be read with rule 5.7, which provides the procedure for obtaining customs authorisation for the various “redirections”. The effect of section 918 is that the customs authority may, when granting an authorisation, also determine the period for which the authorisation applies. This however does not mean that the customs authority may allow goods under a redirection authorisation to remain at a redirected place for a period which is in conflict with an express provision of the CCA. Section 918(1)(b) specifically states that the time period must be consistent (not in conflict) with the CCA and any applicable tax levying Act. (Please see the specific time periods applicable in relation to transit operations, warehousing, inward processing and home use processing in the relevant Chapters of the CCA).

  • Rule 7.2 (b): How will multiple invoice numbers be reflected on a customs declaration? Does this imply that each line on the supplier’s invoice must be declared separately even though the same tariff heading may apply?

Multiple invoice numbers could be accommodated on a declaration. Different lines on a supplier’s invoice could be consolidated on a declaration, provided that the key assessment factors are identical.

  • Rule 7.2 (d): On pre-clearance one only has an estimated “date of arrival” – is the actual “date of arrival” only known on arrival? An assumption is made that no amendment would be required to amend the date to the actual date of arrival.


  • Rule 7.2 (d) r.t.w s 2: When does a vessel dock? Has a vessel at anchor actually docked?

A vessel docks when it arrives at a dock and drops anchor, i.e. the normal dictionary meaning of the word applies.

In relation to “arrival of goods” at a customs seaport, the following applies:

    • Section 167(1)(d) (i) refers to the date and time of actual or expected arrival of the goods…at a place referred to in section 90 in the case of imported goods. Section 90(1)(a) refers to arrival at a customs seaport.
    • Section 2(b)(ii) deals with when goods on board a vessel must be regarded to have arrived at a customs seaport, i.e. “when the vessel upon reaching the seaport docks for the first time at that seaport, whether inside the seaport or at a docking facility outside the seaport”.
  • 9.5 (f) r.t.w. s 206(4): Who will report a failure to complete an international transit operation: the border post or SARS Customs?

The person clearing the goods: see section 217(2) of the CCA.

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, customs legislation is unable to respond to new risks, is not business friendly and needs to be easier to understand and use to provide certainty to traders and travellers as well as to Customs.

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