SARS forges ahead with new travel pass in November – but swaps Joburg for Durban

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King Shaka International Airport (Photo by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)

  • The South African Revenue Authority will roll out a new traveler management system in November.
  • The pass, which has come under fire from the country’s tourism sector, was originally meant to be tested at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
  • It will now be tested at King Shaka International Airport in Durban.
  • The online portal will allow travelers to “make declarations on a voluntary basis, well in advance of their arrival or departure to or from South Africa”.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) will continue testing its new traveler management system in November, despite concerns from the country’s battered tourism sector.

South Africa’s proposed SARS traveler management system has drawn apprehension from the country’s tourism sector, which, in addition to being battered by the pandemic and associated lockdown restrictions, has struggled with government bureaucracy. These two stumbling blocks have made the industry “shy”, according to the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa).

SARS’ announcement in October of the impending implementation of an online pass sent shivers down the spine of the South African tourism sector, which said that, despite assurances of consultation from the revenue department, it did not There had been no significant engagement prior to the public announcement.

A SARS representative was due to join a press conference organized by Satsa on October 18 to explain in detail the practical function of the traveler management system and its impact on passengers entering and leaving South Africa. SARS was not present, and this snub left more questions than answers. At the very least, Satsa said, the uncertainty surrounding the pass should delay its implementation.

The new system would require “all travellers, including South African citizens and residents, children and infants, leaving or entering South Africa by air to complete and submit an online traveler’s declaration”, according to SARS. It was to be implemented on November 1 at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

And despite calls from the tourism sector for a delay, SARS confirmed last week that the system would go live in November, but not at OR Tambo.

The “pilot implementation of an online electronic portal allowing travelers to make declarations on a voluntary basis, well in advance of their arrival or departure to or from South Africa” ​​will begin at King Shaka International Airport in Durban.

“The new system will allow travelers to pre-report goods purchased, received or otherwise acquired,” SARS said in a statement.

“For travelers who choose not to use the online portal on their mobile devices, SARS will provide a paper form as well as self-service counters in our terminals. A number of our customs officers will also have portable devices to assist travelers and facilitate passage Travelers will be permitted to continue to use the traveler card if they wish.

South Africa’s traveler management system, which SARS says will enable “rapid and seamless movement” to and from South Africa and “will be refined based on information gained as well as a commitment and additional feedback with various ministries and other stakeholders.”

“Phased-in implementation at all South African ports of entry will begin from April 1, 2023,” SARS said.

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