My partner and I have a modest business designing, manufacturing and supplying fashion products domestically and overseas. We have always tried to source and manufacture everything in SA, thereby providing much-needed local employment.

As we were recently unable to obtain the required fabric in SA for an urgent order, we purchased and air-freighted a small amount of printed material from India. The material arrived at Durban airport, and the normal but highly frustrating paperwork submission has taken four days. Now we have been advised that the shipment has been flagged for inspection by the SA Revenue Service (Sars).

Our clearing agent, who has had two similar experiences recently, has warned us it can take from five to 10 working days to go through all the hoops to get the goods cleared.

This unexpected and totally unnecessary delay means we will not be able to ship our product to our UK customer in time, and we will lose the order.

This morning, with a heavy heart, we decided that in future all orders for our UK customers using Indian material will be made in India and shipped directly.

This will lead to a direct loss of jobs here in SA. We are also contemplating having all our products made abroad, especially as we have little confidence that the load-shedding that has affected us so badly is ever likely to end.

If this government were serious about job creation, it would stop wasting time on multibillion-rand vanity projects and just get the basics right.

The value of the shipment that is being delayed is less than R30,000. How desperate can Sars be?

Chris Powell

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