Sars crushes 46 illegally imported cars.
Durban - The SA Revenue Service has crushed 46 second-hand foreign cars, imported illegally into Durban, in its efforts to curb illicit international trade.

Sars crushed 12 cars worth R450 000 at the Reclamation Group, a scrap metal company. The cars included a VW Polo, an Audi A4 and a Toyota Avanza.

Sandy van Niekerk, commercial manager at The Reclamation Group, said over the past two months, Sars had ordered the destruction of another 34 vehicles.

According to Patrick Moeng, Sars customs executive, the cars are normally imported from Asia, through Durban Port and into special-purpose warehouses.

Moeng said this process was not illegal, but it was illegal for these second-hand cars to be driven on the country’s roads because trading of second-hand foreign cars (manufactured outside the country) was banned under South African law.

These cars created a revenue loss to Sars, hampered local car manufacturers leading to job losses, and increased corruption, according to Moeng.

“We do have a provision in the Customs and Excise Act where we license these special warehouses. The only thing is, they are not supposed to sell to the South African market but to the outside market,” he said.

There is such a warehouse in Durban, on Mahatma Gandhi (Point) Road, which is being investigated for contravening its permit laws, according to metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad.

The Independent on Saturday reported earlier this year that 15 people in the Eastern Cape traffic department had been arrested over their involvement in the illegal trade.

Moeng said those arrests and subsequent investigations led the trail to Durban where there was a huge market, run by criminal syndicates, for these cars.

Since these cars are similar to those seen on the country’s roads, it may be difficult to spot them.

Moeng said they were usually recovered during the registration process, provided there were no corrupt individuals in that specific traffic department.

Sewpersad called on parents to ensure that “malumes” (“uncles”) transporting their children to school are driving authorised cars, saying there had been numerous incidents where these SUV-like taxis have been involved in crashes.

He said not only were the cars unsafe, but should there be an accident, the injured victims may not get compensation from the Road Accident Fund.

Sars also destroyed imported counterfeit clothing worth R6.7 million.

Independent On Saturday