Ready to export to Africa? Contact Us
Why you should list your products on Enterprise Africa:
- Risk-free market entry in Africa
- Secure payments
- German speaking customer service
- 20 years of experience in African markets
- Leverage the growth potential of E-Commerce in Africa
- B2B-wholesale - Sell large quantities to companies
- Risk-free shipping through our experienced logistics partners
- Choice between dropshipping and warehousing
Customs & Import regulations in South Africa - What you need to know
Customs regulations in South Africa state that companies wishing to import goods into South Africa must be registered as an importer with the South African Revenue Service "SARS" and then apply for an import permit from the International Trade Administration Commission "ITAC".
An import permit ensures that the goods you wish to import meet the safety, quality, environmental and health requirements of the country.
Import permits also help control the flow of goods of a strategic nature or contraband.
The regulations that apply to the import of goods vary from sector to sector. Most new goods are exempt from import control measures. However, all used goods, second-hand goods, waste and scrap are subject to import control measures.
Due to the complicated import process, exporters are advised to find a local partner who is familiar with the regulations and procedures.
With Enterprise Africa International, you are already at the right address - we take care of the import process for you and provide an import permit.
Duties and taxes on imports
Customs taxes on imports average 5.8%. Agricultural products are exempt from this. Please refer to the data on tariffs in South Africa provided by the World Trade Organisation (p. 167).
Tariff rates mostly fall in eight tiers from 0 to 30%, but some are higher (e.g. most clothing items). The final duty rate on garments is 40%, yarns 15%, fabrics 22%, finished goods 30% and fibres 7.5%. Effective duty rates on cars, light vehicles and minibuses are still at the high level of 34%, while the duty rate on original engine parts is 20%.
South Africa is working to reduce the tariff on these products.
The customs threshold above which duties are required is ZAR 500.
South Africa applies the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff rate on imports from the rest of the world, as well as preferential tariff rates on products sourced from trading partners with whom it has negotiated trade agreements.
Average MFN rate: 7.7%.
South Africa has an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union. Customs tariffs are detailed here and are part of the Southern African Customs Union agreement. The SACU comprises South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) and Namibia and administers a common external tariff for third countries.
ITAC is responsible for customs investigations, amendments and trade restrictions in South Africa and on behalf of SACU.
In addition, South Africa has free trade agreements with several countries. The country is also part of the COMESA customs union.
Classification of goods
South Africa uses the Harmonised System (HS) for the classification of goods.
South Africa has a complex import procedure. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has about 90 000 product codes that strictly apply to all imports. Foreign exporters are strongly advised to seek a local customs clearance partner who is well versed in South African legislation.
Customs SA, a division of SARS, requires importers to register and obtain a SARS importer code. SARS uses a Single Administrative Document (SAD) to facilitate customs clearance for importers, exporters and cross-border traders. The SAD is a multi-purpose goods declaration form that covers imports, exports, cross-border and transit movements. The following documents are required to obtain the SAD:
- One negotiable and two non-negotiable copies of the bill of lading.
- An origin declaration form, DA59, is to be used in cases where a lower duty rate than the general duty rate is requested and for goods subject to an anti-dumping or countervailing duty.
- Four copies and one original of the commercial invoice. Invoices from suppliers will not be accepted as meeting the requirements of customs regulations unless they meet certain requirements of the SARS (see the SARS website for more information).
- One copy of the insurance certificate (for sea freight).
- Three copies of the packing list. The information in this document should match the information in the other documents.
After registering as an importer with SARS, one can apply for an import permit with the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC), which ensures that imported goods meet the country's safety, quality, environmental and health requirements. They must also comply with the provisions of international agreements.
Duration and costs of an import permit procedure
Import permits are usually issued after five working days.
ITAC does not charge service fees, but you will have to pay customs duty to SARS. Customs duty is calculated as a percentage of the value of the goods (set out in the Schedules to the Customs and Excise Act).
Import licences and controls
Import licences are required for certain products. The licence is only valid for the goods of the specified class and country. It is not transferable and may only be used by the person to whom it is issued.
These licences are issued by the following authorities (depending on the type of product): the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Department of Water and Sanitation, the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Energy and the Department of Health.
Some products are subject to special controls, some examples are:
- A phytosanitary certificate is required for vegetables and related products as well as for animal products such as bacon, hides and honey. It is issued by the Ministry of Agriculture of the country of origin.
- A veterinary certificate is required for the import of live animals and fresh, frozen or preserved meat.
- A certificate of disinfection is required for the import of wool products, cotton, clothing, etc.
- An inspection certificate from a recognised institute is only required for exporters exporting to South Africa for the first time, it is not required if a good business relationship already exists.
- A quality certificate may be required for fruit and vegetables.
South Africa uses the ATA (Temporary Admission) carnet system for the importation of commercial samples, promotional materials and professional equipment. The goods should be sufficiently marked for identification to facilitate their passage through customs. South Africa is a member of the ATA Convention. Goods with an ATA Carnet are exempt from customs duties and VAT.
Enterprise Africa is a perfect solution for foreign suppliers, wholesalers and manufacturers interested in selling their products in African markets. We ensure minimal risk as your brand grows in Southern Africa - all with the help of our sophisticated E-Commerce tools and with a minimum of investment.
Our secure payment options:
Selling risk free through Enterprise Africa
Selling your products in South Africa is worth considering for many international Ecommerce sellers. A well thought out international sales strategy should help you overcome the initial burden of translating and localizing your online store to accommodate African markets.
If you’re a global supplier/ manufacturer/ wholesaler wanting to export to South Africa, we can help you with your sales figures.
Listing your products with Enterprise Africa:
All you need to do is register as a seller with Enterprise Africa Intl, we will upload your product images and take them to the relevant market/ buyer.
For the purposes of maintaining the Enterprise Africa e-commerce platform, management of online transactions and ongoing support for you and customers, we require a once off set-up fee for the uploading of images and product descriptions. A minimal monthly retainer will include inventory management, search engine optimization, marketing and ensuring product relevancy. Africa Enterprise will empower our clients by leveraging our ability to reach every part of Southern Africa to ensure your products reach where your customers are.
Once your product has been successfully sold on the Africa Enterprise e-commerce platform, we will claim only 15% of your VAT inclusive price for each product sold. Once a sale is made and to ensure that you remain in control of your business, a notification will be sent to you / or your preferred logistical partner in real time for you to start preparing the order for shipment to the buyer. NB: we only claim the 15% commission when the sale has successfully been processed.
New Market Entry Benefits
To increase your success through our experience and existing network, safe market entry and brand positioning/marketing strategy.
- No Need to incorporate a subsidiary to have a local presence
- No need to employ local staff in Africa
- No risk for your staff in unknown territories and markets
- We offer market research
- Marketing done on your behalf - Create localised and dynamic advertising, leaflets, etc.
- Brand Strategy; new or relaunch of the brand – increase brand awareness
Value-add on Services:
- BBBEE representation - One of the biggest benefits of having a BBBEE supplier / importer is being able to conduct business with government sectors (including municipalities) and public entities. Being BEE compliant means you will not miss out on prospective business from companies wanting to deal with only BEE compliant companies. It could also mean you gain business from non-compliant competitors.
- After sales service:. After sales service plays an important role in customer satisfaction, customer retention and customer referrals. It generates loyal customers and increase a brand value – a very important element for foreign companies entering Africa for the first time. The After sale services include follow up calls, product installation/maintenance servicing and even trouble shooting.
- Logistical assistance – as specialists in bringing brands to Africa, we have special relations with various logistical partners. As a supplier of Enterprise Africa Intl., you have the flexibility of using your own preferred supplier or outsourcing the shipping and logistics to one of our recommended Logistic service providers.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org