Drugs, Viagra and hard cash among goods worth R1.7bn seized by taxman in early 2018

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SARS customs enforcement vehicle. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
SARS customs enforcement vehicle. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

More than R1.7 billion worth of goods have been confiscated by customs officials in the first half of 2018, according to the taxman.

Among the goods are drugs worth millions, seized at the airport in Johannesburg, as well as cash and Viagra pills.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) released the statistics on Friday.

Among the high-profile drug busts SARS officials have made is the confiscation of ketamine (Special K) and methaqualone (Mandrax) worth R32m at OR Tambo International Airport in April. The drugs were apparently brought into South Africa from Kenya.

The following month, Viagra pills worth R30m were confiscated.

Increase from 2017

In February, currency valued at R15m and abalone worth R2.3m were also seized.

The busts took place in various locations, including OR Tambo International and harbours in Durban and Port Elizabeth.

SARS spokesperson Sicelo Mkosi said the number of busts in the first six months of 2018 increased from the same period the previous year.

Acting chief officer for customs and excise, Beyers Theron, has commended officers for their successes.

He said customs and SARS needed to do more to make inroads.

"We need to start looking at trends and patterns and becoming more strategic in the way we are dealing with some of these risks."

Infographic of SARS busts for first half of 2018
(Supplied)

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