The implementation of new Controls at South African border posts with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland was scheduled to take place on 1 October 1998. This was postponed to provide an additional opportunity for consultations both within and outside South Africa.
On 19 October 1998 the Minister of Finance, Mr Trevor Manuel, met with his counterparts from Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland in Gaberone. This meeting provided a further opportunity exploring concerns from all points of view. Representatives of SARS have since had a further round of discussions with both government officials and business:
Concerns raised at these meetings have been noted and addressed. For instance, the hours of operation at a number of border posts have been adjusted to meet the needs of our neighboring countries. It is now clear that it is necessary to implement the export control measures on VAT on 16 November 1998. This will address a major area of VAT fraud.
The Minister of Finance will be hosting his counterparts from Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland at a meeting in Pretoria on Thursday, 12 November 1998. At this meeting, a report will be presented on the consultations in the BLNS countries and the manner in which the administrative concerns have been addressed.
It is the intention of the Minister of Finance, on the basis of the above, to obtain agreement for measures in respect of both exports and imports to be implemented on 16 November 1998.
From now until 31 December 1998, SARS will have a HELPLINE in operation regarding the new measures on imports and exports.
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE