NATIONAL NEWS - Second-hand vehicles, illegally brought into the country, will be crushed as part of a joint government task force action against illegal activities.
In a statement issued by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) on Tuesday, 8 December, Sidwell Medupe, the department’s spokesperson said the move was consistent with the recognition of Anti-Corruption Day on Wednesday, 9 December.
“This sends a strong message that illegal activities are not tolerated by government,” said Medupe.
“The proliferation of second-hand motor vehicles into the country from Europe, Asia and the rest of Africa has become a serious risk to the survival of the legitimate motor vehicle industry in the country. Illegal activities such as smuggling of second-hand vehicles ultimately has negative consequences on the economy of the country,” he said.
Inter-Agency Working Group
Medupe explained that the joint task force, known as the Inter-Agency Working Group on the Illicit Trade (IAWG) includes the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) as well as other law enforcement agencies.
The crushing of the illegally imported vehicles began during the first week of November and involved 57 vehicles.
“These vehicles also pose a safety threat when used within South Africa since they are not manufactured for the local environment and do not go through proper safety processes like roadworthy tests,” said the spokesperson.
The confiscation of these illegally imported second-hand vehicles was due to the following contraventions:
- Clients had produced fraudulent traveller declaration forms (TRD1s) in order to use the vehicles illegally in South Africa;
- Some of the vehicles were driven in South Africa with a cloned vehicle registration and licence disc. However, upon verification with the neighbouring countries it was established that the registration belongs to various other vehicles;
- The vehicles were sold to South African citizens without due clearance and permits being obtained;
- Refugees residing in South Africa have been purchasing the vehicles from the Bond Stores and registering them in the SACU countries in order to use them in South Africa for an indefinite period.
“The importation of second-hand imported vehicles into South Africa is mainly allowed for the purpose of re-sale to foreign countries, with a few exceptions,” said Medupe adding that collectors’ cars fell into the category of exemptions.
“An import permit from the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) is required before the vehicles may be imported into South Africa. However, ITAC does not issue permits for the importation of second-hand vehicles for use on South African roads. In other words, a second-hand vehicle may not be imported and registered locally,” he explained.
The spokesperson explained that an increased proliferation of second-hand vehicles prompted SARS’ Illicit Trade Unit to increase its enforcement activities in this area in recent years.
“The enhanced operations resulted in extensive detentions and seizures of illegally imported vehicles, which were eventually forfeited to the state after investigations. In the 2017/18 financial year, there were 77 seizures of illegally imported vehicles, in 2018/19 there were 169 and in 2019/20, the numbers increased to 256, highlighting the renewed clampdown by SARS on this particular area of non-compliance,” he said.
Medupe said members of the IAWG have declared their commitment to work with other agencies to halt criminality, including the illegal importation of second-hand vehicles.
“The crushing of the illegally imported vehicles is a warning to those that continue to practice this illegal act. And for unsuspecting buyers, make sure that what you are paying for is legal – otherwise your vehicle could be confiscated by the state,” says SARS Commissioner, Edward Kieswetter.
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Nomalungelo Gina, says government will stop at nothing when confronting this scourge in order to protect local manufacturing, which contributes more than 7 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and creates employment.