12 million illegal cigarettes to be shredded on Friday

Illegal cigarettes seized in various operations are set to be destroyed this week. File image.
Illegal cigarettes seized in various operations are set to be destroyed this week. File image.
Image: File / SAPS

Various government departments fighting against illegal imports and exports will destroy 12 million illegal cigarettes with a market value of about R18m on Friday, says the SA Revenue Service (Sars).

The cigarettes will be shredded at the State Warehouse in Cape Town.

The waste will then be transferred via a conveyor belt to special trucks and removed under supervision to a secured landfill site, Sars said in a statement.

The illegal cigarettes were seized in various operations, including the confiscation of a 40-foot container smuggled into the country and falsely declared as another commodity.

“The clampdown on illicit imports and exports is a major focus of government under the auspices of the inter-agency working group on illicit trade, which consists of several government departments and agencies,” the revenue service said. The group focuses on illegal clothing, textiles, footwear, leather, infrastructure sold as scrap metal, and second-hand motor vehicles,” Sars said.

“The destruction of the illegal goods must send a strong message that government has adopted a zero-tolerance approach towards illegal trade and to sensitise the public about the harm these goods do to our economy and the health of our people.

“Such illegal activities destroy the country’s manufacturing capacity, which leads to unemployment, inequality and poverty. Illegal imports and exports are also a source of funding for criminal syndicates.”

Illegal imports and exports also reduce the amount of revenue Sars collects. “The revenue generated plays an important role in enabling government to build a capable state that provides basic services to poor and vulnerable individuals and households, as well as relief to employers and employees during the Covid-19 pandemic,” the tax entity explained.


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