Picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba, Independent Media

CAPE TOWN - South African Revenue Service (Sars) Customs officials have over the past two days seized four deliveries of counterfeit goods worth a combined value of R20.5 million at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA). 

Read also: Trade in counterfeit goods deals costly blow to the nation

The latest interception this year included 2 600 Nike sneakers from Hong Kong, 7 7 00 Nike sneakers,100 Louis Vuitton bags, 2 000 kids Nike sneakers, 470 Gucci ladies dresses and 1600 ladies Polo and Chanel branded shoes from China. 

This latest bust is one of 561 interceptions that Sars Customs officials have carried out since a special “increased inspections” operation which started at the City Deep depot in August. 

The operation focuses specifically on banned and restricted goods such as counterfeit clothing and shoes. 

“We are trying to be as responsive as possible to the industry’s plight. We are currently working on numerous clothing and textile cases worth millions of rands”, said Executive: Customs Investigations, Patrick Moeng. 

To date, 132 busts relating to clothing and textile contraventions have brought in over R10.5 million of revenue since August. However, the biggest bust yet took place in August where counterfeited goods worth R23 million were confiscated. 

Notably, the Kosi Bay border pass is notorious for being a hotspot for smuggling. This is because the area has a lack of controls. 

         Picture: Counterfeit Nike sneakers. (Supplied). 

Sars have taken decisive action against the illegal imports of counterfeit goods. Based on their mandate, Sars has a responsibility to collect revenue, facilitate trade and also protect the local economy. 

The revenue service has held meetings with the SA Clothing and Textiles Workers Union (SACTWU) to explore action steps. 

One measure that has been identified is the introduction of new risk rules. This has led to an increase in the number of stops and inspections of clothing and textile goods.

“Once we have assessed the risk at these border posts, we will focus on strategy and capacity planning at non-designated ports going forward”, said Moeng. 

         Picture: Confiscated sneakers. (Supplied). 

Currently, customs are only present at commercial border posts while non-designated ports only have a few representatives from other government agencies such as SAPS and Immigration. 

These illegal imports negatively affect the local clothing and textile industry. It has forced many companies to shut down, due to the escalation of cheap imports. 

Decisive action

Just last month, Customs destroyed goods that arrived in 45 super link trucks at the Midrand dump site. The goods were thrown into a deep hole and sprayed with sulphuric acid for easy destruction. Durban is about to complete their disposal process.

         Picture: Goods seized during specialised investigated. (Supplied). 

Visible difference

Since Customs latest efforts to increase its risk management, there has been a visible increase in the number of counterfeit goods being intercepted. 

         Picture: Dump site in Midrand. (Supplied). 


Clothing Busts       Year        Value

65 185                       2016      R72 601

73 969                       2017      R97 168 048

Shoe busts              Year     

65 174                      2016

74 480                      2017

“This is an attempt by SARS to ensure that South Africa does not become a dumpsite for second-hand goods that do not follow legal requirements,” said Mr Moeng. “Customs will always take action against smuggling of illegal second-hand clothes as it affects our local clothing industry immensely”, concluded Moeng. 

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