Hi, my name is Mike Poverello, I have spent the best part of 29 years in the service of South African Customs, and a further 5 years as a free-lance consultant to the customs industry as well as an advisor on several customs systems modernisation programmes with international ICT and consulting firms between 1998 and 2002. Like many of my peers and numerous colleagues worldwide, “customs” is not another government department, but an institution which has as much a ‘corporate identity’ as it is an arm of government. Perhaps, I’m guilty of nostalgia at times gone by, but it nevertheless concerns me what is happening to so many customs administrations. First, many have by government decree merged into what is otherwise known as a ‘Revenue Authority‘, with some success – as is the case with Customs in South Africa. A more recent development sees the customs being removed from its traditional ‘treasury’ base into ‘Border Security Agencies’. Some fortunate administrations appear to have retained their independance which makes the organisational mandate and objectives more focussed and attainable. Through this ‘blog’ I wish to share my past experiences as well as current developments of Customs in the southern African region, and encourage those of you of like mind to collaborate on any matter.

If you wish to enquire about the title of this blog: “What Happened to the Portcullis”, my first two posts relate this story, so if you’re interested open the following posts –



  1. Very interesting blog. I would like to ask you about some aspects of the African trade. Do you mind to send me your mail? Thank you!


  2. Dear Mike – swell blog, I like
    I need to probe your knowledge re B.R.I.C.S – Brazil, Russia, India, China and now South Africa who are working together – I want to know if there are any plans to introduce a system like the EU nations with the EUR certificates
    I’ve asked Trade and Industry also, just waiting for a formal reply
    Maybe you have heard something??


      1. Thanks Mike, appreciate your assistance
        I did manage to speak to a gentleman from DTI who was of great help (Thabo Chauke jchauke@thedti.gov.za)
        According to Thabo there are no future plans between B.R.I.C.S for a preferrential duty structure

  3. Mike, dealing as we do, here at Beitbridge, with thousands of RIT’s , (not all of which reach the intended port of export), the US pseudo acquittal case was of interest. I’d like to post it on http://www.dumelangmusina.co.za, as I have a number of regular Customs and clearing agent readers. The article is a tad too large to put in, so I’d like to post it under a “teaser” with a link to a .pdf. Would it be possible to let me have the article, (or a link to your post) as a .pdf?

    Regards, Brian Kalshoven


  4. Hello Mike,
    Thank you for this very informative Blog to better understand east & south Africa Trade related issues.
    From a West African in Customs IT


  5. Hi Mike, just a question, I see in FTW that you mention Zimbabwe has introduced control measures : goods being exported to Zimbabwe will have to undergo consignment verification from May 16. Do you have any idea or can you point me in the right direction for help: will this be the case for goods passing through Zim to other countries as well (Malawi, Zambia etc).


  6. Hi Morne,
    The only source I can think of (off hand) is the Customs & Excise Tariff. If you visit the SARS website – http://www.sars.gov.za and access the webpage http://www.sars.gov.za/Legal/Primary-Legislation/Pages/Schedules-to-the-Customs-and-Excise-Act.aspx you will find a table of schedules to the Customs Tariff. Check out Schedule 2 – ​Anti-dumping, Countervailing and Safeguard Duties on Imported Goods. There you will find a hyperlink to the current list of goods subject to Anti-Dumping Duty. In so far as historic information in this regard I will need to check to see if I can find a contact at the DTI who might be able to assist. Regards, Mike


    1. Hi Morne, yes ITAC would probably be the best option as it is they who monitor these developments. SARS merely acts on or carriers out their recommendations in the Customs Tariff.


  7. Hi Michael, I have a question i was wondering if you can help me with.
    I recently received a call asking if there is ASYCUDA integration with MCNet Mozambique, I have looked at the pdf pamphlet of theirs but I saw that it is only a possibility. Could you help bring some light on this issue for me?


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