Reports of blitz on all footwear imports
Published: 18th Apr 2017
All safety footwear – locally made or imported – must eventually have the numbers to be compliant with the law, but imported footwear is more immediately affected because it is checked by NRCS inspectors at ports of entry. From the safety footwear importer’s point of view, NRCS numbers – or proof that they have been applied for – are attractive mostly because they supposedly speed up the import process.
Ironically, importers and a clearing agent are reporting that all footwear imports are currently being targeted for inspection.
“The NRCS is only 1 of 5 government agencies which can inspect cargo,” said the clearing agent, who didn’t want to be named, but whose company works with a number of footwear and footwear component importers. He said the most important is SA Revenue Services (SARS) – formerly Customs – which oversees all imports in respect of import duties. The others are SAPS (counterfeits), Port Health Services (disease) and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (various agricultural products).
“At least 80% of footwear and footwear component containers are being stopped by SARS,” the agent said. “They’re all being queried.”
Emailed questions to SARS – first to its Durban office, which referred Protect to its media office in Pretoria – asking whether and why these products were being targeted, went unanswered.
Rebel’s Gingell said the NRCS was responsible for the stopping of its containers: “Yes – we’re finding far more containers are being stopped by Durban NRCS. There appears to be little communication between NRCS in Durban and NRCS in Pretoria, about the status of applications.
“We’ve only recently received the NRCS numbers, so we're not yet in a position to say whether this will improve our status with NRCS, and hence reduce the number of stoppages.
“Our containers are still mixed – a container may contain some styles which are approved, and others that are not yet approved. However, we have proof that we have submitted an NRCS application for each style that we are importing.”