Sending Donations


It was found that some of the clothing imported to be donated to charity was sold for personal gain. Because this privilege was abused, a restriction has been placed on the import of second hand clothes into South Africa. This restriction may only be lifted in instances of severe disaster when the President declares a specific area a National Disaster Area.

Books, Computer Equipment, Educational Toys, etc.

The organization in South Africa receiving the donation should make the necessary arrangements for the goods to be imported into South Africa. All used articles require an import permit.


The following procedure should be followed by the recipient of the donation when applying to import articles into South Africa.

1. Import Permit

1.1  Contact the Directorate: Import and Export Control of the Department of Trade and Industry to ascertain whether an import permit is required.

Telephone: 011 27 12 310-9909
Facsimile: 011 27 12 322-9408

1.1  The harmonized tariff number of the goods you are receiving is obtainable from the Controller of Customs and Excise Section, South African Revenue Service (SARS).

1.2  All relevant information and tariff numbers are available on the following website:

1.3  If any further information, which is not on the website is required, the Customs and Excise office in your area can be contacted. The contact details of Customs and Excise offices in your vicinity is available on the following website:

1.4  If the information is not available on the website you should contact the Information Technology personnel at the Import and Export Control Head Office in Brooklyn:

Contact: Mr. Dirk Koekemoer
Telephone: 011 27 12 422-4000

2.   Application to Department of Trade and Industry

2.1   If an import permit/document is required the recipient of the donation should send an application to the Department of Trade and Industry in Pretoria.

2.2   When applying please stipulate whether goods are new or used.

2.3   The contact persons are Mrs. van Vuuren, Mr. Louw Marsh or Mrs. Haasbroek and their contact details are:

Telephone: 011 27 12 310-9909 or 310-9910
Facsimile: 011 27 12 322-7408


Address: Department of Trade and Industry
Private Bag X192

3. Board on Tariffs and Trade

Information required in support of an application for a duty rebate permit in terms of rebate item 405.04/00.00/00.06.

3.1   The recipient of the goods can request that the import duty be waived on the articles which are being donated.

3.2   Application should be submitted to:

The Chairman
The Board on Tariffs and Trade
Private Bag X753

3.3   Questionnaires not duly completed will be returned to the applicant for completion before applications will be considered. Furthermore all required documentation must be attached to the completed questionnaire.

3.4  If the space provided on the questionnaire is insufficient, please use the format of the questionnaire as a guideline in which the requested information should be submitted.

3.5   For any enquiries regarding the completion of this questionnaire and relevant matters please contact The Board on Tariffs and Trade.

3.6   The contact persons are Jane Mohibe or Dietrich Smith.

Telephone:  011 27 12 310 1106 - J Mohibe
Telephone:  011 27 12 310 9671 - D Smith
Facsimile: 011 27 12 320 0662

4.   Valued-added tax: Exemption on Importation of Goods Donated to South African Organizations

4.1   After the import permit/permission to import, has been obtained and the duty set aside, The South African Revenue Service (SARS) can be contacted by the importer with a request that the VAT be waived.

4.2   Paragraph 5 of Part A of the First Schedule of the Value-Added Tax Act, 1991 provides for an exemption from VAT on importation of goods forwarded unsolicited and free of charge to:

a. a public authority or local authority; or

b. any association not for gain which satisfies the Commissioner that such goods will be used by the association exclusively:

i.  for education, religious or welfare purposes; or

ii.  for the furtherance of that association's objectives directed to the provision of educational, medical or welfare services or medical or scientific research; or

iii.  for issue to or treatment of indigent persons, free of charge.

Note: Also see the following website: Value Added Tax in South Africa

4.3   In order to determine whether or not the exemption is applicable, the recipient of the donation should furnish the South African Revenue Service with the following:

* A letter from the donor confirming that the goods were donated.
* A letter from the recipient organization confirming the donation, stating the goods will not be sold and how the goods will be used.
* Copies of the relevant shipping documentation (Post Office advice, Air Waybill or Bill of Transport Lading)
* A copy of the import permit issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (if second-hand goods):
tel 011 27 12 310 9677
* A description of the goods, the volume and mass and the estimated commercial value thereof for statistical purposes.

4.4   Application for exemption from VAT may be made to:

The Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service
P O Box 402

ATTENTION: VAT Law Administration
Imports and Exports
Tel: 011 27 12 422 5102

Telephone:  011 27 12 422-5100
Facsimile:  011 27 12 422-5194