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South African Customs Law against the Background of World Customs Law in Comparison with Laws of the European Community

by Dr. Natan Hogrebe

The objective of this work is to evaluate the South African customs law in comparison with the provisions of the European customs law and international guidelines. For this purpose, the South African customs law is studied section by section according to the dogmatic guidelines particularly those contained in the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonisation of Customs Procedures (Revised Kyoto Convention). Every legal section is scrutinised for its conformity with the world customs law and thereafter compared with the European Law.

The South African customs law has both national and international legal sources. The principal international sources considered are the different agreements within the WTO and WCO context and more especially the Revised Kyoto Convention. Since the end of the apartheid regime, there has been a development of some forms of integration of customs law. These are: the South African Development Community (SADC) and the much older but reformed South African Customs Union (SACU). These legal sources are extensively presented in the introductory part of the work.

The South African national customs law is chiefly contained in the Customs and Excise Act (1964) with later amendments and annexes as well as the guidelines to the Act. Compared with the world customs law, the South African customs guidelines show some lack of clarity and discretion. When compared with the European law, there are conceptual variations which can actually have material effects.

The fundamental achievement of this work is the recommendation to revise the South African customs law and to modernise it basing on the internationally negotiated regulations of the world customs law.

The work has been published by Shaker Verlag, Aachen 2006 (ISBN 3-8322-5442-0); the text is also available for download.

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