DURBAN – Concerns have been raised and directed at South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) about the rising practice of fraudulent Certificates of Origin being issued in South Africa and used to extort importers of their funds.
The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a SACCI member, has a decades-long history of issuing Certificates of Origin (COOs) and trade certifications. The Durban Chamber’s credibility in this area is extended by the fact that it is a SARS authorised and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) accredited issuer of COOs and trade certification.
“A COO is an important international trade document that certifies that goods in a particular export shipment are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country. It also serves as an official declaration by the exporter adding credibility to their product or service and the export/import process. Virtually every country in the world considers the origin of imported goods when determining the duty that will be applied or, in some cases, whether the goods may be legally imported at all,” said Palesa Phili, Durban Chamber Chief Executive.
Sihle Zikalala, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, has commended the Durban Chamber for providing such an important accredited service to its members and organised business at large.
“Certificates of Origin help to promote KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa as a tried and tested export destination for certain goods and products. As the department continues to clamp down on illegal business operations that threaten economic growth in our province, we commend the Durban Chamber of Commerce as our private sector partner for ensuring that important instruments of trade such as COOs are issued with the highest level of quality, implementing transparent and accountable verification procedures and in accordance with international best practices,” said Zikalala.
“Export and trade play a crucial role in promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth for KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa as a whole. They contribute to GDP growth and also drive industrialisation, manufacturing, technology adoption and much needed infrastructure upgrades,” he added.
The Durban Chamber is the biggest issuer of COOs in South Africa and a member of SACCI. This is a national body mandated by the Department of Trade and Industry, via Business Unity South Africa’s facilitation, to accredit an issuing chamber to ensure that it has the capability and capacity to issue COOs as well as comply with regulatory requirements. As custodian and accreditation body for issuing chambers SACCI interacts with government bodies such as the South African Revenue Service’s Customs department and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
Alan Mukoki, Chief Executive of SACCI, advised that businesses need to ensure that they work with accredited and compliant issuing chambers in order to ensure that their COOs are processed correctly and reduce the risk of fraud and loss of revenue.
“SACCI has been put under pressure by DTI to tighten controls over the issuing of certificates and this applies also to non-compliant issuing chambers and SACCI intends to open a criminal case against the people engaged in such illicit activity,” said Mukoki.
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