Illegal vehicle imports cause shocking revenue losses, association says

Buyers of preowned cars must ensure that they buy cars from a registered South African supplier. They can land themselves in very hot water otherwise.

The National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA) said 220 000 vehicles that were supposed to be exported to neighbouring countries, have entered South Africa illegally over these last 10 years. None of these have reached their originally intended country, meaning they are still in South Africa.

This puts enormous strain on the fiscus, as it causes a loss of income from taxes and levies. “A recent estimate suggested there are hundreds of thousands of these illegally imported vehicles operating on local roads. If these buyers had bought new or used vehicles through official channels instead of illegal imports, and paid annual licence fees, the benefits to the fiscus would have been huge,” said NADA.

NADA says half a million foreign registration plates have been recorded on South Africa’s roads in the last five years. This is an alarming statistic given that the country’s official vehicle park is made up of around 13 million units.

These illegal imports are vehicles imported from other countries through channels other than those of the manufacturer or official distributor.

Used vehicles may not be brought into South Africa for sale, but may be imported via a South African port with the intention of exporting them to a neighbouring country, and this is where it is believed, loopholes are found.

Limited numbers of legal import permits for used vehicles are permitted and usually go to legal immigrants, residents and nationals returning to South Africa. These also include adapted vehicles for those with physical disabilities, vintage and collectors’ cars and racing cars.

NADA stresses that it is imperative that these practices be curbed, as they are detrimental to the local motor industry.

 Source: llana Salant


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