Nearly 12 million cigarettes to the value of R 4.2 million went up in smoke today as part of a Customs clampdown on illegal goods.
The cigarettes were destroyed at the Beit Bridge border post after being confiscated in a number of seizures by Customs officials in recent months.
A total of 17 suspect smugglers were arrested during these operations and charged for contravening customs legislation. After being convicted in court, or in some cases after pleading guilty, all the suspects were fined.
Heavier fines were imposed on the transport companies or importers who employed the drivers. These fines were based on the value of the consignment of cigarettes and ranged from R24 000 to more than R88 000.
The cigarettes were seized in terms of the Customs & Excise Act. The destruction is being done in terms of the Act. Illegal imports not only undermine the fiscus but pose a serious economic threat to legitimate enterprises in South Africa.
For more information please contact Sechaba Nkosi at (012) 422 5046 or 082 465 2901
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE