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Illegal Dumping of Imported Vehicles in South Africa

Illegal Imported Vehicles Dumped in SA!

Fouché Burgers - Programme Executive at Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) outlines why SA is becoming a dumping ground for illegal imported vehicles.

South Africans need to be aware that there are unscrupulous car sellers and that there are thousands of vehicles on our roads which have either been hijacked, stolen or illegally imported. Under the International Trade Administration Act (Act 71 of 2002) importation of used vehicles is prohibited except in exceptional cases such as returning residents to SA.

Currently many of our neighbouring countries rely on transit through SA for imported vehicles which include 2nd Hand vehicles. However, many of these “in-transit” vehicles do not reach their destination and find their way back illegally into SA where they are sold to unsuspecting buyers. These illegal imports are then confiscated by law enforcement.

In the early 2000's illegal vehicles generally originated in Japan where they were sold on auctions and shipped to Southern Africa. They were easy to identify due to features not usually found on locally traded cars. More recently however, the illegal vehicles look very similar to the ones currently sold and it is becoming apparent that vehicles are being dumped in Southern Africa as more stringent measures are implemented in European countries to curb the same problem. The vehicles are also expensive and luxurious and sold at a good price. This places the South African motor industry under pressure.

The following is recommended by Burgers:

  1. Never buy a vehicle advertised or displayed with foreign number plates.
  2. Never buy a vehicle that is registered in a foreign country – even our neighbouring countries. The probability of you being allowed to import the vehicle, is very low.
  3. Never buy a vehicle without a NaTIS registration certificate. If the vehicle is financed, the registration certificate will be at the bank and it will only be released if the vehicle is paid in full.
  4. Check that the information on the registration certificate and/or license disc match with the information on the vehicle. Check that all the VIN/chassis numbers on the vehicle match each other and have not been tampered with.
  5. Check for spelling mistakes on the registration certificate and that it is not a photo copy.
  6. Buy used vehicles from reputable dealers.
  7. Do not buy a vehicle if a microdot confirmation certificate was not issued for the vehicle by a reputable accredited microdot fitment centre. All motor vehicles, locally manufactured or imported, registered for the first time in South Africa after 1 September 2012 must be microdotted. If a vehicle has not been fitted, it should be verified and fitted with microdots. The Second-Hand Goods Act, 2009 (Act No. 6 of 2009) makes it a requirement that second-hand motor vehicle dealers must record motor vehicle details, which includes the recording of the microdot particulars on the microdot.

The golden rule is, if the deal looks too good to be true, walk away, because it probably is. Use your head, not your heart.

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