The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma declared a national state of disaster on March 15 2020. South Africa subsequently entered lockdown mode 11 days later, on March 26. As of 28 May 2020, 63 days after the lockdown was announced, official statistics indicate that close to 26 000 people have become infected by the COVID-19 virus in South Africa. Just more than half of these (13 451) have thankfully recovered. 552 People have unfortunately died.
Soon after the announcement by the Minister, Rebate Item 412.11 became operational. This rebate item provided for the facilitation of the full rebate of customs duties for all products listed as ‘critical supplies‘ by ITAC.
All certificates issued under the provisions of Rebate Item 412.11 are valid until 31 May 2020 and can, after that date, no longer be used for the purpose for which they were issued.
Given that certain products, such as paracetamol, are not produced locally, this will serve to add a significant cost burden to downstream pharmaceutical companies.
This programme has, since its inception, facilitated the importation of a significant quantity of critical products such as hand sanitisers, respirators and face masks required during the national state of disaster. It has been determined by ITAC that, based on the information available, there is no longer a shortage of items described in the list of critical supplies and that an extension of this programme beyond the original date specified on all certificates (31 May 2020), would not be necessary. Standard tariff rates will therefore apply after the specified date.
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