Sars celebrates nearly R400m worth of busts since the start of the year

14 March 2018 - 15:33 By Timeslive
Image: Reuben Goldberg

Sars has seized nearly R400 million in illicit or illegal goods since the beginning of the year – with the latest bust nabbing an alleged currency smuggler.

Sars said the passenger failed to give a valid reason or produce documentary proof of origin for the currency. The currency was detained and the passenger was arrested for smuggling of currency by police.

Other busts since January 2018 include 122 narcotics busts‚ nine busts in cases of endangered species such as rhino horns and abalone‚ 36 busts for Viagra or Viagra generics and 320 busts in cases of counterfeit clothing‚ footwear and other goods.

Sars said its Tactical Intervention Unit‚ which focuses on particular areas of non-compliance‚ recorded 45 busts involving illicit cigarettes and tobacco and 23 busts of clothing‚ textiles and other goods.

Amongst other high-profile busts was a special high-visibility joint operation‚ led by Sars Customs and involving various government agencies‚ which took place in Cape Town on March 1 and 2 and resulted in 46 busts of goods with a value of R33m.

The biggest bust of the operation was the discovery of uncut Crystal Methamphetamine (tik) with an estimate value of R30m stashed in fridges on a truck which arrived in Cape Town from Johannesburg. In the same truck‚ a large amount of suspected counterfeit clothing was also discovered. The truck driver was arrested.

The operation‚ under the auspices of Operation Phakisa‚ also led to the detection of 177 cases of non-compliance‚ including possible under-valuation‚ non-declaration of goods‚ non-permits for import purposes‚ illegal transporting of abalone and detention of vehicles.

Other big busts listed by Sars include:

  • Fentanyl/Oxycodone with an estimated value of R30m en route from China to South Africa seized at OR Tambo International Airport.
  • Ephedrine with an estimated value of R4.2m en route from Tanzania to South Africa seized at OR Tambo International Airport.
  • Heroin with an estimated value of R3.6m en route from Mozambique to South Africa seized at Lebombo Border Post.
  • Heroin with an estimated value of R3m en route from South Africa to Mauritius seized at OR Tambo International Airport.
  • Ephedrine with an estimated value of R17m en route from Kenya to South Africa seized at OR Tambo International Airport.
  • Crystal Meth with an estimated value of R6m en route from Rwanda to South Africa seized at OR Tambo International Airport.

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