Cargo scans to intercept fake goods

2008-04-02 00:00

In a bid to eradicate smuggling of illegal and counterfeit goods, the SA Revenue Services (SARS) has installed a state-of-the-art scanner at Durban’s harbour.

The mobile cargo scanner is the first of 18 that will be introduced to other ports around the country as part of a SARS modernisation programme.

This was announced during a visit by the directors-general (D-G) of the Justice and crime prevention and security cluster to Durban’s Westville Prison for their bi-monthly meeting on Tuesday. The delegation was taken on a walkabout of the facility and shown how the scanner operates. The scanner, imported from China, aims to increase the efficiency at the port and facilitate the movement of goods and services.

Justice D-G Menzi Simelane said the 18 scanners will be introduced over the next three years to clamp down on the smuggling of illegal goods.

A budget of R136 million has been allocated for the scanners, which will also be used in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

SARS project manager Peter Lake said that although the scanner was installed in February, it only became functional in March and has since played an integral role in operations.

Lake said that the scanner takes 90 seconds to scan trucks and around four minutes to produce an image of the contents.

"With this speed, the scanner is able to scan around seven trucks an hour. We usually profile vehicles who we suspect are carrying counterfeit goods," he said.

Simelane said that by using the scanner, tax evasion will also be addressed and unfair competition for SA business reduced. "Importers and exporters and cargo holding companies will … benefit … as turnaround times will be reduced significantly."

He said the scanner makes the process less intrusive and disruptive as manual inspections and unpacking of containers will be reduced to a minimum.

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