The Perceived Impact of SARS Customs Strategic Transformation on Trade

Author: Butler, Ziyaad
Supervisor: Professor Pierre Gerber
Date: September 2009

SARS Customs is uniquely positioned as the “layer” between our economy and the broader world economy and can either be the enabler of trade or be the barrier to trade. For South Africa to harness the benefits inherent in greater participation in the global economy we need to equip SARS Customs to effectively deliver on its mandate as seen in the context of all the changes taking place in the world at large.

The objective of the dissertation is to gauge the trader’s perception of Customs transformation in order for SARS Customs to learn from the past and be better equipped for the future. This was achieved by engaging trade through a survey with the intent of answering specific research questions:

  • What are trader’s perceptions of Customs modernisation to date?
  • What is the root causes undermining the transformation effort?
  • What areas of focus exist for modernisation to concentrate their efforts on?

The survey endeavoured to answer these questions by posing a myriad of questions across diverse Customs functions.

The responses to the survey provided the platform for performing theoretical and statistical analysis. The data was exposed to a factor analysis and Cronbach Alpha test to establish validity and reliability and the frequencies gave insight to a number of demographics and other relevant findings.

The gist of the findings indicated that SARS Customs should focus their effort on engaging trade on modernisation, enabling automation as far as possible and mainly up-skilling and enabling their staff to meet the requirements of traders.

The outcomes of the research has provided a clear way forward for SARS Customs in terms of their modernisation agenda and has established a sound platform for further research on a related topic.