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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Sars boss Kieswetter explains why you’ll need travel pass before entering or leaving SA

The new travel pass is more than just a simple travel document, but a way to ensure the integrity of financial flows.

South African Revenue Services (Sars) Commissioner Edward Kieswetter has explained the need for the new travel pass that it will be implementing, saying it is more than just a simple travel document and declaration, but a way to ensure the integrity of financial flows in and out of the country.

New travel pass

The tax collector on Wednesday announced that South Africans would in future have to obtain a travel pass before they depart or enter the country after an international trip.

ALSO READ: You’ll now need a travel pass before departing or entering South Africa

Sars said it will introduce the new online traveller declaration system from 1 November 2022, with OR Tambo International the first airport set to implement it.

The new traveller declaration process is an online system that collects travel information and returns a traveller pass via email.

What’s it all about?

While the new system is meant to simplify passenger movement at South African airports throughout the country, Kieswetter said the travel pass is more than just a document to enter or depart South Africa.

“The travel pass is a single component in a response by the whole of government (National Treasury, Sars, Financial Intelligence Centre and the South African Reserve Bank) to improve the integrity of our financial flows, and to improve our capacity to detect illicit flows and to enforce our laws and regulations. 

“The declaration by a traveller is the commitment we seek as the South African Revenue Service about whether or not they have on their person any amounts which are in excess of the amounts that are permitted,” Kieswetter said.


Kieswetter said there are concerns about “illicit financial flows” into and out of the country.

“It is the flow of money across our borders that is not properly disclosed for the purpose of exchange control, and it is not properly disclosed from the purpose of tax and it is not specifically a way… a legitimate transfer of financial flow.”

The commissioner added that the travel pass works in regulation with many other laws in South Africa and Sars is still working on developing a bigger system.

More announcements

“It is unfortunate that media is focusing, for me at this time, only on the pass, and when the timing is right, we will make more announcements around, certainly from a Sars perspective, how we will use data and technology from both structured and unstructured sources to be more aware of the economic activities of taxpayers and tax paying entities.”

“And all we are trying to do is make sure that taxpayers, individuals and businesses to encourage transactions, but we also need to make sure that these transactions take place within the privy of the law,” Kieswetter said.

ALSO READ: ‘Nothing prepared Sars against state capture’ – Ramaphosa

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