COSATU welcomes Supreme Court of Appeal judgement upholding SARS’ confiscation of illegal imports

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes the Supreme Court of Appeal’s upholding SARS’ confiscation of 19 containers of deliberately under valued imports.  This is a welcome boost in the fight against illegal dumping of billions of Rands worth of goods into South Africa’s economy.

COSATU applauds the work done by SARS and in particular its employees, who are beginning to turn the tide in tackling illegal dumping and customs evasion.  The Federations salutes the interventions by our Affiliate, SACTWU in combating and in collaborating with SARS to deal with illegal dumping.  This is a progressive social compact in action.

Illegal and under invoiced imports are a threat to thousands of local clothing, textile and other manufacturing and agricultural jobs and companies.  They deny the state customs duties and billions of Rands of revenue that it’s legally entitled to and obligated to collect.  This denies nurses, teachers, police officers and even SARS employees their right to a living wage and to see their salaries and families protected from inflation.  It denies millions of South Africans and the economy quality public services they depend upon.  It undermines government’s industrial development programmes and the billions spent developing our local manufacturing and other industries.

Underinvoicing, e.g. claiming that an import is valued at a fraction of its real value is corruption, fraud and theft.  Often these are also imports subsidised by their own governments.  Government needs to also deal with South African companies who knowingly buy and sell such illegal imports at the expense of local jobs and genuine businesses.

COSATU urges government to invest more in SARS to employ additional badly needed staff, to pay its employees who have done excellent work in rebuilding SARS a living wage, to further modernise its systems and to ramp up customs enforcement from its still woefully inadequate levels.  SARS needs to intensify its efforts to enforce customs collection and where necessary to confiscate illegal imports, and to fine and prosecute offenders. 

This is key to saving and creating badly needed local jobs, protecting legitimate businesses, growing the economy, stabilising the fiscus and ensuring the state can fulfill its constitutional and developmental mandate.

Issued by COSATU

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687