The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) on 21 June announced a reduction in the customs duty on other motorcycle helmets, classifiable under tariff subheading 6506.10.90, through the creation of an additional 8-digit tariff subheading on which comment is due by 05 July.
The application was lodged by the Association of Motorcycle Importers and Distributors (AMID) who reasoned that:
(a) Motorcycle safety helmets attract a customs duty of 25% ad valorem. However, there is currently no Southern African Customs Union (SACU) manufacturer of motorcycle helmets in South Africa and in fact all motorcycle helmets are imported. The wearing of a motorcycle helmet is compulsory in terms of Section 207(1) and 207(2) of the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996.
(b) Irrespective of the law, it is an absolutely essential piece of safety equipment when operating a motorcycle.
(c) A motorcycle helmet has a recommended life of 3 to 5 years depending on the frequency of use. In the event of the helmet being dropped or involved in a collision, it is recommended that the helmet is replaced immediately. The reader should bear in mind that approximately 35% of motorcycles sold in South Africa (2017) are small capacity motorcycles typically used in the commercial sector such as for short-distance deliveries.
The customs duty of 25% ad valorem makes the proper replacement and use of motorcycle helmets prohibitively expensive resulting in many lower-end users wearing helmets that are past their useful life, are perhaps damaged, or are just downright dangerous due to deteriorating condition.
Story by: Riaan de Lange