How to complete a SADC certificate

Are you a South African exporter? Would you like to export to any of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries1? If your goods meet certain criteria (namely, that they were either wholly or partly manufactured in South Africa), you can apply for a SADC certificate.

Why a SADC certificate?

SADC certificates can provide a competitive advantage in exports. When a SADC certificate accompanies any cargo, customs charges little or no import duty on the shipment. In turn, your buyers will enjoy savings, which makes your product more desirable.

How do I use a SADC certificate?

The first step is to register at Customs as a SADC exporter. You can then apply for SADC certificates. You need to fill in one SADC certificate for each export to a SADC country. This certificate then needs to accompany your export.

How do I complete a SADC certificate?

Currently there are two versions of the SADC certificate in circulation. We cover both here:

As you will notice from the following examples, each section of the certificate is numbered. Below is a guide on how to complete each section of bother versions of the SADC certificate.

Older SADC certificates (most likely issued up to July 2021)

Section 1: Fill in the exporter’s name, address and Customs registration number.

Section 2: Fill in the buyer’s name and address.

Section 3, 5, and 12: For official use, leave this blank.

Section 4: Fill in the mode of transport (road/sea/air) used to export the goods. It is optional to add the departure and destination cities, and the transport vessel number.  For example “Airfreight from Cape Town to Antananarivo” or “Seafreight, MSC Fairweather V 528”.

Section 6: Provide a basic description of the goods and how they are packed. Are there any marks on the packaging? If not state “no marks”. Do you have a container number?  An example description would be “1 x 5 metre container containing 2000 cans of tuna fish”.

Section 7: List all items’ tariff codes. Take note that all tariff codes must be from the same chapter in the tariff book. I.e. it must start with the same 2 digits. If your shipment contains goods from other chapters, you’ll need to complete more than one SADC certificate.

Section 8: Insert “P” for goods wholly produced in South Africa or “S” for goods made with some imported components.

Section 9: State the cargo’s total weight (including packing material).

Section 10: State the number and date on the commercial invoice accompanying your cargo.

Section 11: Add your signature and the date.

Back Page: Overleaf is a section to fill in a brief description about the origin of the goods. Specifically mention how the goods were manufactured, and justify why they are of South African origin. For example: “These goods were manufactured in a South African factory using locally sourced South African materials”. Also list any supporting documents that you can supply as proof of origin (for example, a manufacturer’s declaration). These supporting documents are optional.

Here is an example of what the SADC certificate looks like:

How to fill in a SADC certificate

Newer SADC certificates (most likely issued after July 2021)

Section 1: The exporter’s name and address

Section 2: The buyer or receiver’s name and address

Section 3, 5, 11 and 12: For official use (leave this blank)

Section 4: Mode of transport (road/sea/air). You can add the departure and destination cities or the transport vessel number, but this is not essential. For example, “Air Freight from Cape Town International Airport to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport” or “Seafreight, MSC Marina V 123”.

Section 6: A a basic description of the goods and how they are packed. Are there any marks on the packaging, or is there a container number? If there aren’t marks, state “no marks”. An example of a containerised shipment would be: “1 x 6 metre container containing 1000 cartons of dog food – Container number 0000000000”.

Section 7: List the tariff codes of all cargo items here. Take note that all tariff codes must be from the same chapter in the tariff book. I.e. it must start with the same 2 digits. If your shipment contains goods from other chapters, you’ll need to complete more than one SADC certificate.

Section 8: Insert “P” for goods wholly produced in South Africa, or “S” for goods made with some imported components.

Section 9: This is the total weight, including packing material.

Section 10: Give the number and date of the commercial invoice accompanying your cargo.

Back Page: 

Turn over the SADC certificate and complete the back page by filling in the producer’s details. If you did not manufacture or grow the goods, you are the exporter, but not the producer. In this case you’ll need to complete 2 copies of the SADC certificate.

The back page also requires an itemised list of the shipment stating the quantities and the classification you used in section 8 for each line. (“P” for goods wholly produced in South Africa, or “S” for goods made with some imported components)

Below is an example of what the SADC certificate looks like. Click here for a PDF version of this.

SADC certificate front page
SADC certificate back page

How do I apply for SADC certificates?

To apply for a SADC certificate, you must first register as a SADC exporter. To order a pack of SADC certificates, simply click the button below.

If you would like to learn more about the other South African trade agreements you can benefit from, read our blog post on Trade Agreements & Certificates of Origin.

1Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe  require a SADC certificate to benefit from reduced tariffs. Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini together with South Africa form the South African Customs Union (SACU). This is a separate customs union that allows the free movement of goods between member state borders without the use of a SADC certificate.

If you have any questions regarding exports under the SADC trade agreement you are most welcome to give us a call on 087 550 1038. Alternatively, you can submit a query via our website here.