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Traveller management system

24th November 2023

By: Riaan de Lange

     

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Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble . . .” If you need reminding, these are the opening verses of the song of the three witches in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. What, you may ask, does the song have to do with this column? The answer lies in ‘traveller’, or, more specifically, the origin of the word ‘travel’.

The word originates from the Middle English ‘travailen’, which means to torment, labour, strive, journey, and the earlier from Old French ‘travailler’, meaning to work strenuously, or to toil.

Anyone who has ever travelled can attest that the process is hard and physically exhausting. If you are questioning the challenge, or stress, of travel, suffice it to say that one is able to obtain ‘Travel Insurance Stress Cover’, and ‘Anxiety Travel Insurance Cover’.

According to www.independenttravelcats.com, research has established that the most common stressful travel experiences related to pretravel issues and planning, such as financial concerns, packing, making travel arrangements, and developing the itinerary that one will follow.

On November 13, the South African Revenue Service (Sars) announced that, as part of the Customs Modernisation Programme, it had, as the first phase of the project, implemented the South African Traveller Management System (SATMS) at airports. The second phase included the implementation of the SATMS at sea and land ports, which had now been finalised. As a consequence, the 23-page ‘South African Traveller Management System – External Guide’ had been updated, with effect from November 10, to include the application of the SATMS at all ports.

In accordance with the guide, each person entering or leaving South Africa must make a complete a declaration of the goods which they have on their person, are carrying for themselves or are carrying on behalf of other persons. Moreover, full particulars of the following must be declared on entering South Africa: goods acquired abroad on which duty has not been paid; repaired, processed or remodelled goods; prohibited, restricted or controlled goods; and goods temporarily imported with the intention of being re- exported. Before leaving South Africa, the following must be declared: goods intended to be repaired, processed or remodelled; prohibited, restricted or controlled goods; and goods temporarily exported with the intention of being re-imported.

The goods described above includes goods in excess of the duty-free allowance and the guide on duty-free allowances; commercial goods; and any road vehicles (excluding Southern African Customs Union-registered vehicles) for temporary import or export.

The Sars commissioner may determine the manner in which declaration may be made. Historically, provision was made only for manual declaration to be made on a Traveller Card (TC-01).

The SATMS is implemented to allow for voluntary electronic declaration, and submission by a traveller of an electronic traveller declaration is regarded as submission of form TC-01. A person may be questioned, and goods may be inspected by a Customs officer, and any assessed duties, taxes and levies must be paid.

This document serves to guide travellers and crew members who will complete the electronic traveller declaration on the SATMS. Completion of the electronic traveller declaration is voluntary during the pilot phase of the system. Although voluntary, completion of the electronic traveller declaration will require mandatory fields to be completed. Mandatory fields will be highlighted in red, if not completed. Apart from electronic or manual declaration, travellers might be required to complete an oral declaration, which will be captured and printed on a traveller declaration (TRD 1).

If you are travelling, as a ‘traveller’, you are able to access the electronic traveller declaration through either the Sars website (www.sars.gov.za/customs-and-excise/, and then select ‘Travellers’); SARS MobiApp; or Quick Response (QR) Code, which is found displayed on the banners or pamphlets at the Customs ports of entry.

As I take my leave, I am reminded of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Safe travels, and be green.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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