For Immediate Release
19 November, 2018
The RG cigarettes, made in South Africa, where they should have paid excise duties, were confiscated at Maseru Bridge. They had evaded both excise due in South Africa and VAT owed to the LRA.
The LRA said in a statement the breakthrough came after “routine checks on compliance of tobacco and tobacco products in Lesotho. This is the biggest single bust on illegal cigarettes in Lesotho in the past five years.”
(See statement by LRA attached)
#TakeBackTheTax spokesperson, Yusuf Abramjee, says it’s great to see a clampdown in the neighbouring country of Lesotho, adding “it takes a foreign tax authority to clamp down on illegal products manufactured in South Africa!”
Abramjee said that while “some efforts have been made locally, law enforcement agencies are still doing far too little. Illegal cigarettes are being openly sold in broad daylight.”
It is no secret that illegal cigarettes are being sold virtually on the doorstep of the SARS headquarters and National Treasury in Pretoria.
Over 22 000 members of the public have already signed a petition calling on authorities to act now and reclaim the billions of Rands in lost tax revenue.
Abramjee said: “We again call on authorities to step up their game and act decisively. The illegal cigarette trade is flourishing, and the question must now be asked as to how long we must sit back and watch the lawlessness continue.”
As we approach the budget, “National Treasury will be thinking about increasing taxes once again on law abiding citizens but what is the point when the government doesn’t collect taxes owed from criminals. The illegal manufacturers will be laughing all the way to the bank”
Abramjee, who was recently elected Vice President of Crime Stoppers International (SCI), said while it was a global problem, Southern Africa appears to be a hub for the illicit trade. He has appealed to the public to blow the whistle on those involved in the manufacture, distribution and sale of illicit cigarettes.
“While we welcome a few small efforts in South Africa, the ‘big fish’ are getting away scott-free.”
To add your name to the petition go to TakeBackTheTax.org.za
On twitter: @takebackthetax