SARS detains shipping containers

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pretoria - Over 50 shipping containers have been detained at the China Shopping Centre south of Johannesburg following a crackdown by South African Revenue Service (SARS) officials.

The 56 containers contain clothing suspected of being illegal imports, the revenue service said.

The discovery is a result of a joint operation between government officials including SARS tax officials, the SAPS and the Departments of Labour, Health, Trade and Industry and the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) as well as the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police.

"The goods in the shipping containers as well as other goods seized are valued at an estimated R10 million. Shipping files were seized from various clearing agents suspected of being involved in the irregular importation of clothing and textiles," said SARS spokesperson Anton Fisher.

Last Thursday, 12 people were arrested for illegal immigration offences after the same operation seized computers and hard disks suspected of being used in the production of false Identity Documents and passports.

Customs officials at SARS also removed equipment suspected of being used in the production of counterfeit CD's and DVD's.

"As a result of government's concern about the illicit economy and its impact on the local clothing and textile industry in particular, SARS was mandated to initiate an intergovernmental response to deal with the illegal importation of clothing and textiles," said Fischer.

Under-invoicing of import clothing and textile consignments resulting in low revenue flows into the fiscus is one of the biggest threats that remain. "Coupled with this is the significant loss of jobs in the local clothing and textile industries over the past years," said SARS. - BuaNews 

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