Based on these provisions, no traveller can be penalised for not declaring or registering their personal effects upon leaving the country. However, upon return to South Africa, the traveller may be challenged by a Customs officer to provide proof of local purchase or ownership. It is within the mandate of the Customs Officer to establish whether the goods fit the description of “New or Used goods acquired whilst abroad” which would have a duty implication and, if not declared, also a penalty implication. The proof referred to above may be in the form of an invoice, an insurance record, in the case of a laptop even the content on the laptop, and any other means through which the officer can use his discretionary powers to satisfy that proof.
The alternative to providing such proof is a process created within the policy framework called “Registration for Re-importation”. This is not on a DA65 as many media articles have referred to lately. The DA65 was phased out for travellers many years ago and today it is only used within the commercial cargo environment, for example where goods are temporarily exported for repair abroad.