Export Control

Import and Export Control measures are applied to enforce health, environmental, security and safety, and technical standards that arise from domestic laws and International Agreements such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, and the 1988 UN Convention Against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. The import and export control measures or restrictions are limited to those allowed under the relevant World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements.
Out of approximately 6 650 tariff lines in the South African version of the International Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System, there are 276 tariff lines under import control and 177 tariff lines that are under export control. However, for the importation of all used or second-hand goods, an import permit is required.

A list of goods that are subject to export control are available here.

The role of the Import and Export Control Unit

As mentioned above, the key role of Import and Export Control is essentially to enforce health, environmental, security and safety, and technical standards that arise from domestic laws and International Agreements.

Enforcement and inspections are conducted to ensure effective compliance with the conditions contained in permits, compliance with provision of the Regulations and for detection of contraventions of the Act.

Export Control Requirements

To export certain goods out of South Africa, you must have a permit ensuring that you comply with applicable export control measures. The export of some goods may be restricted to support strategies of beneficiation or to assist local manufacturers to obtain raw materials before they are exported.

An export permit is required to ensure that goods exported by an individual or organisation comply with the provisions of international agreements. Export permits also help to control the outflow of goods of a strategic nature or of smuggled and stolen goods.

The policy that applies to the export of goods differs from sector to sector. Policy information regarding the export of specific goods can be obtained from the Import and Export Control Unit at ITAC. Though as indicated, not all goods or products are subject to export control measures.

Some of the products subject to export control measures include:

  • Tiger’s Eye and Sugulite
    The exportation of precious stones, such as Tiger’s Eye and Sugulite is controlled to assist the Department of Mineral Resources with strategies of domestic beneficiation.
  • Raw materials for manufacturing
    The exportation of ferrous and non-ferrous waste and scrap, for example, inter alia, is controlled to assist the local foundries in acquiring ferrous and non-ferrous waste and scrap prior to its exportation.
  • Assisting strategies for crime prevention
    The exportation of used motor vehicles is controlled to assist law enforcement agencies in curtailing the exportation of used, stolen motor vehicles.
  • Control in terms of international agreements
    Export control measures are also exercised to comply with the provisions of the international agreements outlined above.


The following legislation and provisions applies to an importer or exporter only in cases where an import and export permit is required: International Trade Administration Act, 2002, (Act 71 of 2002).

Customs and Excise Act, 1964, (Act 91 of 1964).
Promotion to Administrative Justice Act, 2000, (Act 3 of 2000).
Promotion to Access to Information Act, 2000, (Act 2 of 2000).

How to apply and the processing procedures

Export Permits

The application forms for Export Permits are found here. The forms may be faxed to (012) 394 0517 or delivered directly to the office. The office address is found here.

The turnaround time for processing an application is two working days on average, with an exception of Export Permits for scrap metals, which take 10 working days for circulation, plus time for processing and issuing.

In some instances, the applications require support documentation from other departments (DEA, Mineral Resources Energy, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, NRCS and SAPS), depending on the product in question.