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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Travel pass: South Africans react to ‘dom pass’ system

While some have welcomed the idea, most South Africans are sceptical.

The new online travel declaration system or travel pass to be introduced from next month has some South Africans flustered.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) on Wednesday announced that from 1 November, South Africans will have to obtain the travel pass before they depart or enter the country after an international trip.

Sars Commissioner Edward Kieswetter explained the details of the travel pass, saying it was more than just a simple travel document and declaration.

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

“It is the flow of money across our borders that is not properly disclosed for exchange control purposes and tax.”

According to Sars website, currency brought into or taken from South Africa is monitored by law.

How much ZAR can you currently take out of the country?

Sars said a traveller is allowed to declare and carry a maximum of R25 000 unlimited foreign currency, whether leaving or entering the country.

“South African bank notes are unlimited if the traveller is going to or coming from a country within the Common Monetary Area (CMA).

“It might happen that a South African resident has a certain Rand amount more than R25 000 when leaving South Africa, which the traveller intends to use in paying import duties on their return. This is allowed where the traveller has made use of the Red Channel and can give a copy of the prior approval of the Exchange Control Department of (SARB),” Sars said.

How much forex can you have when leaving SA?

“To the value of R1 million per adult and R200 000 per child under the age of 18, per calendar year out of South Africa.

“Prior clearance from an authorised dealer (on an official letterhead) must be produced to Customs as proof. Without such clearance, only an amount equalling R25 000 is allowed per person,” Sars said.

Arriving in South Africa

Sars said a Traveller Card, also called a TC01 form, needs to be completed by those arriving in South Africa who have anything to declare to Customs.

“Should you have South African currency exceeding R25 000 or any foreign currency, this must be declared.”

What is the travel pass?

Kieswetter said 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 financial flows, and to improve capacity to detect illicit flows and to enforce  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 amount which are in excess of the amounts that are permitted,” Kieswetter said.

SA reacts

South Africans have reacted to the announcement of travel pass, with some welcoming it, and others sceptical about the new system.

The former leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Parliament Lindiwe Mazibuko said she is “not mad at the system.”

“Filing taxes when you are back and forth living in and out of SA is absolute hell on wheels. You literally have to review every single stamp in all your passports and mark the dates on a calendar. This system will be a lifesaver.”

However, others were not too happy with the new system.

Kgothatso@8333.mobi (@440UrPp) on Twitter wrote: “Country with history of a dom pass that was used to limit physical move in certain areas by “race” implements a travel document to limit financial movement by soon to be disclosed conditions. Well done klein bas @sarstax, see you in the streets.”

@Just_A_Driver24 also said on Twitter: “So my take on the this as a pilot, is I will be blocked from leaving SA because SARS has incorrectly labeled me as “Non-Compliant” and I’m in the middle of endless disputes. Forcing me to pay what I don’t actually owe in order to work! #VoetsekANC.”

Here’s what other Tweeps had to say:

More information

Kieswetter said Sars would make more announcements in due course on how the revenue service would use data and technology from structured and unstructured sources, to be more aware of the economic activities of taxpayers and tax paying entities.

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

Read more on these topics

South African Revenue Service (SARS) travel

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