Sars to tighten controls at Waterkloof
28 May 2013
Posted by: Author: Babalo Ndenze (ioL news)
Source: Babalo Ndenze (ioL news)
Sars is to review and tighten its customs controls not just at the now infamous Waterkloof Air Force Base, but at all other "relevant” points of entry, says Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
This follows the infamous incident on April 30 when the Gupta family’s chartered private jet landed at the Waterkloof Air Force Base without following proper channels.
In a written parliamentary reply to DA MP Tim Harris, Gordhan said Waterkloof was "not a commercial port of entry in normal circumstances”, but would be reviewed following the incident now known as Guptagate.
Harris had asked Gordhan why Sars customs officials were not present at the Waterkloof base to ensure that correct customs procedures were followed by the Gupta family.
Harris also asked Gordhan whether the Sars commissioner had declared the Waterkloof air base a customs and excise airport in terms of section 6(1)(e) of the Customs and Excise Act.
Gordhan said the justice, crime prevention and security cluster’s statement on May 19 explains that the Waterkloof Air Force Base has seven functions:
- The conduct of operations;
- The hosting of training flights;
- Receiving VVIP and VIP flights;
- Receiving foreign heads of state, envoys and dignitaries;
- Receiving registered military aircraft;
- Serving as a diversion airfield for commercial aircraft; and
- Conducting air shows.
"It is, therefore, not a commercial port of entry in normal circumstances. However, when necessary, Sars customs would be called in to perform its functions.
"Whilst this did not happen initially, Sars management ensured that within hours, passengers on Flight JAI 9900 filled in customs declaration forms.”
He said the arrangements at Waterkloof Air Force Base were being reviewed "to ensure stronger customs presence”.
"The Sars management has been instructed to review the lessons arising from this event and make recommendations to the minister of finance on changes that need to be made to tighten and enforce customs control at relevant ports of entry,” he said.
Gordhan added that Waterkloof was not classified as an international airport.