China malls are doing a roaring trade

2016-11-15 06:00

DURING a recent trip to Johannesburg, I visited a few Chinese malls. There are quite a few huge China Malls within a five-kilometre radius in the Crown Mines area in Johannesburg.

What astounded me was that these malls were extremely busy, doing very good business. However, what concerned me was that all the stores I visited gave me a piece of paper as a receipt, which was written in Chinese. It appeared that this “receipt’’ was more to show the guards that I did not steal anything than for actual receipt purposes. There were no tills and no proper invoices in most of the shops in these malls.

So how are they paying VAT and income tax? It is well known, given the porous nature of our customs, that these goods are highly under-invoiced and so traders are already paying less duty on importation and arguably no VAT or income tax. How has SARS turned a blind eye to this? It may have been too focused on the Guptas to notice that we are losing billions and billions in revenue from this relaxed China trade and much of this money is flowing back to China in the form of diamond exports and other forms of money laundering.

Is there another state capture that we are not talking about?

RAZIA KHAN

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