On 24 October 2013 the Customs Duty Bill, the Customs and Excise Amendment Bill and the Customs Control Bill were introduced in the National Assembly by the Minister of Finance.

The Customs and Excise Amendment Bill changes the name of the Customs and Excise Act, 1964, to the Excise Duty Act, 1964, and amends the Customs and Excise Act so as to delete all provisions dealt with by the Customs Control Act applicable to customs control of imported goods and goods to be exported, the imposition, collection and refunding of customs duties and other matters relating to customs duties.

The current Customs and Excise Act will apply only to excise duties, fuel levies, Road Accident Fund levies, environmental levies, air passenger taxes and matters relating thereto.

Certain of the provisions of the Customs Control Bill will also apply to matters dealt with in the new Excise Duty Act and the current Customs and Excise Act will therefore be amended to allow for that, for example:

  • Customs controlled areas
  • Customs duty
  • Exporter and importer will have the same meaning as in the Customs Control Bill
  • The definition of illicit goods
  • Entry of goods for specific purposes upon importation and exportation and bills of entry will be in terms of the Customs Control Bill
  • Fines and penalties of the Customs Control Bill will apply

Other provisions introduce existing concepts but specific to the excise environment, for example:

  • Excise manufacturing and excise storage warehouses (previously dealt with by the Customs and Excise Act as customs and excise manufacturing and storage warehouses).
  • The definition of ‘home consumption’ consumption as used in the Customs and Excise Act is amended to read that the goods may be consumed, utilised, processed or otherwise disposed of in the Republic as goods that are no longer subject to customs control.
  • Customs officers and excise officers.
  • Liability for duty and diversion of goods.

Once the above legislation is implemented, importers, exporters and manufacturers of excisable goods will have three pieces of legislation to comply with as far as customs and excise is concerned.

Importers, exporters and manufacturers of excisable goods will have to be aware of the provisions of each of these pieces of legislation as well as the relevant provisions thereof that apply across customs and excise and the interactions between them. This could prove quite a challenge whilst stakeholders get used to working with the new legislation.