This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) acts as a guideline for Business on the escalation procedures that SARS has put in place during the lockdown period of 27 March 2020 until 16 April 2020, focusing primarily on facilitating trade in essential goods.
The following extract is copied directly from documentation published and distributed by SARS dated 26 March 2020:
In cases where visits to SARS offices are unavoidable and essential, a procedure has been introduced to ensure that SARS comply with all regulations and guidelines relating to the combating of COVID-19. These include the following:
1. All visits to SARS offices will be by appointment only and no walk-ins will be allowed.
2. All service requests should be directed to the Customs Branch email address.
3. To enable speedy resolution, please provide sufficient information (including name, ID number, etc.), relevant supporting documents, case numbers, LRN numbers etc. in all your correspondence.
4. The request will be assessed and only if it cannot be resolved without a visit to the office by the client, SARS will respond by granting approval for such a visit. Please ensure that you provide your full names and ID number, as the appointment letter/email will have to reflect these details to aid your passage through checkpoints during the lockdown period. Your own organisation should also provide authorisation for you to travel under the lockdown regulations under the Disaster Management Act.
5. A scheduled appointment time will be indicated in the email and clients are urged to keep to those times as there will be limited staff. We also need to ensure social distancing appointments will be staggered so that only one client is served at a time. All appointments that are not honoured within 15 minutes from the scheduled time will be cancelled and new arrangements will have to be made.
6. A copy of the approval letter/email and your ID (or a certified copy) will be required in order to gain access to SARS premises. Please refrain from bringing any other documentation during the visit and rather email them before your appointment as indicated above.
7. All visitors should adhere to hygiene and social distancing requirements as per Department of Health guidelines.
In urgent cases where your issue has not been resolved via the branches, you can mail the Customs Command Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 012-4228463. Please include as much detail as possible, including attachments of your prior correspondence with the relevant branch. Business for South Africa, Covid-19: LRN ESCALATION PROCEDURE
B. Branch Office Contact Detail
C. Technical and System Processing
Where a particular LRN is of a technical or systems processing nature, both the relevant Service Providers as well as SARS technical team (via the Remedy call logging interface) remain available and are fully operational during this time.