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In brief

The South Africa Revenue Service has published a Notice clarifying the customs declaration process under section 64D of the Customs and Excise Act. The Notice outlines the conditions under which bonded goods must be imported into South Africa. Prenisha Govender, Associate in the Tax Practice at Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg, provides the key points.

Key points

  • Following queries and concerns from various industry stakeholders regarding information that all bonded goods must be imported into South Africa under sealed conditions (i.e., containerized), the South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) published a Notice on 25 September 2020 (Notice), which clarifies the customs declaration process under section 64D of the Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964 (Act).
  • Section 64D of the Act regulates the removal of goods in bond and states, inter alia, that no person, except if exempted by rule, shall remove any goods in bond, or for export, or any other goods that may be specified by rule, unless licensed as a remover of goods in bond.
  • SARS, by way of the Notice, unequivocally states that recent amendments to section 64D of the Act does not, and will not, affect and/or influence the declaration process of cargo that is to be transported, nor will it affect and/or influence importations, exportation or transit cargo.
  • Accordingly, cargo can be either containerized, breakbulk or bulk cargo. Furthermore, SARS has advised clients to complete the mandatory fields on their declarations.
  • This approach appears to be in line with the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) trade recovery recommendations. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the costs of exporting by at least 25% and accordingly, the WCO recommends that all countries apply improved facilitation measures for legitimate trade in order to maintain seamless flows of goods and allow companies to run their businesses to the greatest possible extent.

Virusha is a partner and head of Tax in Baker McKenzie's Tax Practice Group in Johannesburg. She has over 20 years' experience in tax matters relating to customs, excise and international trade.


Prenisha Govender is an Associate in Baker McKenzie's Johannesburg office.