The South African police and South African Revenue Service have moved to act against the import of cheap second-hand cars into the country.
According to a report in the Sunday Times, approximately 20,000 vehicles are illegally registered and sold in South Africa each year, which has prompted action by the legal authorities.
The vehicles, mainly from China, are shipped to local ports, where they are then taken by criminals and fraudulently registered on the eNatis system – and sold to buyers unaware of the vehicle’s illegal status.
The paper highlighted an example of a woman who purchased a 2017 VW Touran for R120,000 from a car ‘dealer’ in February 2018, when the vehicle retails for over double that price.
The police then confiscated the car in October, noting that it had been fraudulently registered.
The SA police stated that hundreds of South African have fallen victim to the same fate, and that anyone who bought an illegal vehicle would have no legal recourse. The illegal vehicles are handed over the the revenue service, and are then destroyed.
Previously, they were sold on auction for export, but “invariably found their way back into SA”, the Sunday Times said.
A police source told the paper that they are looking into how the vehicles are taken through local customs by the criminal groups and how they are registered on the eNatis system.
It is suspected that the vehicles are legally shipped to South Africa, but are intended for further shipment to neighbouring countries. A portion of these vehicles destined for sub-Saharan Africa are taken by criminals and brought into South Africa.