WATCH: R18 million worth of illegal cigarettes shredded in Cape Town
Cape Town – The shredding of 12 million illegal cigarettes with a market value of R18 million took place in Cape Town this morning.
The illegal cigarettes were seized in various operations, including the seizure of a 12m container smuggled into the country with the contents falsely declared as another commodity.
The clampdown on illicit imports and exports is a major focus of government under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on Illicit Trade, which consists of several government departments and agencies.
The IAWG focuses on illegal clothing, textiles, footwear, leather, infrastructure sold as scrap metal, as well as second hand motor vehicles.
The cigarettes were shredded on site, with due regard to health and safety protocols. The destruction took place at the State Warehouse, in the Foreshore.
The waste was then transferred via a conveyor belt to special trucks and removed under supervision to a secured landfill site.
“The destruction of the illegal goods must send a strong message that government has adopted a zero-tolerance approach towards illegal trade and to sensitise the public about the harm that these goods do to our economy and the health of our people,” Sars said in a statement.
“Such illegal activities destroy the country’s manufacturing capacity, which in turn leads to unemployment, inequality and poverty. Illegal imports and exports are also a source of funding for criminal syndicates.
“The fight against the scourge of illegal imports and exports is also of major importance because it reduces the amount of revenue that Sars collects.”
Sars added: “The revenue generated plays an important role in enabling government to build a capable state that provides basic services to poor and vulnerable individuals and households, as well as relief to employers and employees during the Covid-19 pandemic.”