SARS confirms vessels detained over fuel bunkering supply chain

Thursday, September 21, 2023

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has confirmed the detention of several vessels involved in the fuel bunkering supply chain.

Responding to a media report concerning the detention of five bunker barges at the Algoa Bay anchorage by Port Elizabeth, over alleged illegal bunker operations, SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said from 2016 SARS has been engaging with the fuel industry to encourage compliance with the legislation concerning the importation, the trading in and other operational activities of vessels engaged in the supply of fuel. 

Alongside these engagements, Kieswetter said, SARS has also been conducting investigations around compliance in fuel bunkering, and the detention of the vessels mentioned in the media article is part of the ongoing investigation. 

Kieswetter confirmed that several vessels were detained in terms of the Customs and Excise Act, 91 of 1964, and this was done in the normal course of investigating whether the provisions of the Act have been contravened. 

He said SARS is of the view that the detention is lawful and as the investigation is ongoing, “no decision to seize such vessels has been taken”.

“SARS is obliged to administer the law fairly, without fear, favour or prejudice and to conduct investigations in a responsible manner, in accordance with fair procedure. SARS has no interest in jeopardising economic growth or of contributing to the problem of unemployment, poverty and inequality,” Kieswetter said in a statement.

The Commissioner implored taxpayers and traders to comply with their tax and customs obligations, warning that SARS will not hesitate to act firmly and robustly to ensure that “non-compliance is hard and costly for those that wilfully and intentionally ignore their obligations”.

“The clarion call to all taxpayers and traders is - comply or face the consequences,” Kieswetter warned. –