JOHANNESBURG, Customs officers from the South African Revenue Services (SARS) have intercepted four consignments of suspected counterfeit goods worth 20.5 million Rand (about 1.61 million US dollars) at the OR Tambo International Airport here over two days this week.
The goods seized included 2,600 pairs of Nike sneakers shipped from Hong Kong, 7,700 pairs of Nike sneakers and 100 Louis Vuitton bags, 2,000 pairs of children’s Nike sneakers and 470 Gucci ladies dresses and 1,600 ladies Polo and Chanel branded shoes, all from China.
Earlier this month, a 24-foot container filled with suspected counterfeit shoes, bags, wallets and other goods was detained by SARS Customs officials. During the Dec 8, 2017 bust at the City Deep depot in Gauteng, the goods with a protected value of 20.7-million Rand were declared as furniture.
This was one of the 561 busts which SARS Customs officials have carried out since a special increased inspections operation started at the City Deep depot in August this year. The operation focuses specifically on prohibited and restricted goods, such as counterfeit clothing and shoes.
So far, 132 busts have related to clothing and textile infringements, with these busts bringing in over 10.5 million Rand of revenue since August.
A bust on March 8 was the second biggest suspected counterfeit clothing and textile bust since the operation began. The biggest bust took place in August when counterfeit branded goods estimated to be worth 23 million Rand were confiscated.
The revenue service said the importation of counterfeit clothing and textiles and various other infringements, including under-declaration and wrong classification, is a massive problem in South Africa.
As a result, Customs is also focusing on plugging the leaks at non-designated border posts. Three weeks ago there was a bust of suspected counterfeit clothing and footwear, with a street value of about 1.2-million Rand, at Kosi Bay (in KwaZulu-Natal Province near the border with Mozambique).
The border post in particular was targeted for being a hotspot of smuggling due to the lack of controls.
Once we have assessed the risk at these border posts, we will focus on strategy and capacity planning at non-designated ports going forward, said SARS Executive for Customs Investigations Patrick Moeng.
SARS Customs has a mandate to collect revenue and facilitate trade, but also to protect the local economy. The revenue service said it had held a number of meetings with the South African Clothing and Textiles Workers Union (SACTWU) this year to explore ways in which the fight against illegally imported clothing, textiles and footwear can be tackled.
These illegal imports obviously have a huge impact on the local clothing and textile industry. Many factories have closed down in the past few years due to the proliferation of cheap legitimate imports, as well as the illegal importation of second-hand clothes and counterfeit clothes and shoes, particularly from Asia.
SARS has introduced a number of measures to address clothing and textile infringements this year. One such measure is the introduction of new risk rules which have led to an increase in the number of stops and inspections of clothing and textile goods.
We are trying to be as responsive as possible to the industry’s plight. We are currently working on numerous clothing and textile cases worth millions of rands, said Moeng.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK