The South African Revenue Service (Sars) says it has taken several precautionary measures to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infecting its staff at points of entry in the country, as well as employees at Sars branches countrywide.
Sars Commissioner Edward Kieswetter explains that its tax, customers and excise operations will continue as normal at all Sars branches, offices and ports of entry.
“All Sars branches will make hand sanitiser available to taxpayers who visit our branches. We will also ensure that all working and service areas that are most frequently touched are kept clean with specialised detergents.
“Information will also be shared with taxpayers on basic steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” he confirms.
Additionally, Sars has made available personal protective equipment to customs officials at all South Africa’s ports of entry, including masks, gloves and hand sanitiser.
Customs officials will also be supported by health officials who will screen travellers entering South Africa.
Kieswetter mentions that Sars is in contract with customs authorities in neighbouring countries to share information regarding the virus and steps to mitigate the risk of infection.
“I call on all taxpayers and traders to take note of the information available to take steps to protect their health and wellbeing. Our core message to our employees, as well as taxpayers, traders and travellers is to not panic, but to practice self-care and consideration to others.
“In this regard, to practice high levels of personal hygiene, especially to regularly and thoroughly wash hands; minimise handshakes and travel and remain indoors should they experience symptoms of flu.
“We want to reassure all taxpayers, traders and travellers that Sars, along with other government departments, is playing its part in responding to the Covid-19 [outbreak],” Kieswetter says.