Customs authorities in South Africa have tightened controls on the import of commercial textile products and textile samples in the fight against the import of illegal textile products. This can cause delays in imports. To minimize these delays, we advise you to follow the following guidelines:

Textile goods, not being samples:

  • The business importer is obliged to provide its 'Importers Customs Client Code & VAT Number' if they import more than 3 shipments per calendar year, when these are shipments with commercial quantities or intended for commercial purposes and/or when the shipment has a value of more than ZAR 50,000.-.
  • For private importers, a 'South African ID number' or 'income tax number' is mandatory for imports. In addition, a maximum of 3 shipments with a value lower than ZAR 50,000 may be imported. The shipments are only for personal use and therefore have no commercial character with regard to the number of products in a shipment.
  • Pro-forma invoices are not allowed.
  • The commercial invoice must be printed (not handwritten).
  • The word 'sample' may not appear on AWB and invoice.
  • The value of the goods must be the correct selling price and must be stated in EUR or USD.
  • The correct commodity code (HS code) must be displayed.

Textile samples:

  • To be able to claim exemption from import duties and tax, the samples must be 'marked' or 'mutilated' (multilated). This must also be stated as such on the invoice by means of the words 'Marked Sample - not for sale' and 'Mutilated Sample'.
  • Marking or mutilation must be of a definitive nature. A stamp 'sample' on a textile product should therefore not be removable.
  • The value on the invoice must be correct.
  • Unfinished textile samples (swatches) must meet detailed requirements.
  • The correct commodity code (HS code) must be displayed
  • The number of textile samples in a shipment must be limited to a maximum of 5 pieces per product.

More detailed information and examples can be found here.