Back to news... 26 October 2011 Worldwide Parcel Services - Parcels To South Africa
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South African Parcel Delivery
The worldwide parcel business has changed many things and the South African customs and excise area is one area that has had to adapt to be acceptable to modern practice. In fact South Africa was one of the first countries to have a free trade agreement when in 1969 it signed a deal with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland when they signed the South African Customs Union agreement. Since that time South Africa has had a massive amount of changes to the customs system and the unions they have made.
In the 1980’s there were some 10,000 different categories that they used to specify the number that referenced the parcels as they were admitted into the country and it seemed like there were as many different customs rates. The whole procedure was very difficult but the country has changed both in its political climate but also the International systems that they now apply. They are signatories to the Harmonised International numbering system and any parcel shipped into the country must have the correct designation or it will cause problems in releasing the items.
Rates vary but they are usually ad valorem or as a percentage of the value of the goods, either “free on board” or strangely enough on a price per unit basis. The value of the goods is the transaction price and the customs authorities can be strict about this business and should not be taken for granted, invariably any delays will cost money and this can be expensive if the problem is not cleared quickly. Customs usually charge a penalty but they will retain the goods in their warehouse until the duties are paid and they will charge warehouse costs for as long as they keep the goods.
There are a number of countries that have reciprocal trade unions including one with the UK and also with the EU among others. The country still protects against dumping and the companies of South Africa do still have influence to stop imports that whilst in essence are legal could damage the home industry. If the parcels are a one off, a good parcel service will do all the work for you. If the parcels are considerable then work together with the haulier and it may be well worthwhile to employ a local agent to smooth the wheels. VAT is charged at a nominal rate of 14% on most goods except some luxury or excise problem goods where the duty is higher and like all the taxes must be paid prior to delivery.