- The seized illegal cigarettes have a market value of R18 million.
- They will be destroyed and taken to a landfill.
- Government has adopted a zero-tolerance stance towards the illegal trade.
A stash of twelve million illegal cigarettes will not be smoked, but rather shred in Cape Town over the next few days.
Operations to destroy the illicit cigarettes, with a market value of R18 million, started on Friday.
Customs officials and police seized the illegal cigarettes in various operations. In one such operation, authorities raided a 40-foot container smuggled into the country after being falsely declared as another commodity.
Nicola Bromley, sales executive at Iron Mountain, who is assisting with the shredding, said they expected to finish the process within three days.
"Essentially, our staff will perform the entire shred on site, and once it's been completed, everything will be taken via waste control to landfill, which will be its final resting place," she said.
It would be taken to a landfill under a SARS official's guard.
The clampdown on the trade in illicit goods is a big focus for the revenue service, which is trying to protect the country's manufacturing capacity.
SARS spokesperson Siphithi Sibeko told News24 that the government had a zero-tolerance approach towards the illegal trade.
"The fight against the scourge of illegal imports and exports is of major importance because it reduces the amount of revenue that SARS collects," Sibeko said, adding that we should "fight the illegal economy together".