Here are some instructions for the importation of used or second-hand vehicles, trucks, buses, taxis, coaches, engines, gearboxes, differentials and used or second-hand spares for heavy duty trucks.
Passenger vehicles, mini-buses, buses/coaches, light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles are manufactured/assembled in South Africa. About 90 000 people are employed in assembly and component manufacturing and this sector contributes about 10% of total manufacturing in South Africa. In view of the importance of this sector, strict control is applied to the importation of used vehicles and import permits are issued only in very specific and defined circumstances.
Permits for the importation of used or second-hand passenger motor vehicles are issued in the following circumstances :
- To immigrants for the importation of private motor vehicles. Imported vehicles may not be disposed of within a period of 24 months from the date of importation.
- To returning South African residents and nationals. The returning resident or national may import his/her used or second-hand vehicle to a maximum of three vehicles if he/she returns permanently to the RSA after a minimum uninterrupted period of absence of six months working, studying or conducting research abroad. It is also required that the vehicle be registered in his/her name for the minimum uninterrupted corresponding period of six months(working etc.) prior to the return. The imported vehicle may not be disposed of within a period of two years of importation.
- To physically disabled people to import a specially designed motor vehicle which will suit the disabled persons personal requirements. Proof in the form of a certificate, issued by a medical doctor that the applicant is in fact disabled is required. Full details of the vehicle must be submitted and the imported vehicle may not be disposed of within a period of two years of importation.
- Inheritance: Permits are issued for inherited motor vehicles. The heir must submit a copy of his/her ID, a copy of the will, a copy of the motor vehicle registration certificate in the name of the deceased and a copy of the death certificate.
Vintage vehicles and vehicles :
which are regarded as collector items. Vintage vehicles can be described as vehicles of 40 years old or older. Vehicles regarded as collectors items are not so easy to define. All requests for the importation of such vehicles are, inter alia, discussed with the South African Veteran and Vintage Association, who comply with international criteria. Vehicles regarded as collectors items must internationally be considered collectors items.
Racing cars :
Racing cars may be imported by a racing driver. The proposed importer must submit a copy of his international, national or regional competition racing car drivers licence as well as a copy of his identification document. Racing vehicles to be imported are those to be used for circuit or track racing events only.
No import permits are issued for the importation of used or second-hand motor vehicles for commercial/resale purposes or any other purpose falling outside of the specifically defined circumstances referred to herein above.
Specially designed vehicles :
Permits are issued for the importation of specially designed vehicles, for own use, for instance mobile cranes and similar vehicles if the particular type of vehicle or a similar/substitute vehicle is not available locally.
Used or second-hand buses, trucks, taxis and coaches :
Taxis, trucks, buses and coaches are available from local manufacturers. Import duty is not a suitable method of supporting local manufactures and guard against the disruptive importation of the above-mentioned used or second-hand vehicles.
General rules :
Persons/firms that wish or intend importing a used or second-hand vehicle and/or used or second-hand spares and parts are strongly advised, before placing an order or buying/shipping a vehicle or vehicle spares/parts to South Africa, to first apply for and obtain an import permit. In cases where the applicant clearly qualifies in terms of the above guidelines, and the correct documentation is submitted, permits are issued within an average of four working days. In other cases where the merits of the specific application have to be evaluated, it takes longer, depending on the nature of the particular case.