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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.

If you would like to learn more about the trade agreements South Africa has, read our blog post on Trade Agreements & Certificates of Origin.

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?

A SADC certificate is divided up into sections. Each section of the certificate is numbered. Below is a guide on how to complete each section.

Neither erasures nor superimposition should be allowed on the certificate. Any alterations should be made by striking out the erroneous entries and making any additions required.

A SADC certificate consists of 3 duplicate copies. Give all 3 copies to your freight agent. The original copy accompanies the freight, the other 2 copies go to SARS.

How to complete each section of a SADC certificate:

Section 1: The exporter’s name, address, and company registration number.

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

Section 3, 5, 12, and 13: 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 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.

Section 11: State country of origin, place, date, and sign.

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.

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.

Tracy Venter

Tracy transitioned from industry to founding Import Export License in 2011, aiding importers and exporters with customs compliance. In 2014, she launched Trade Logistics, focusing on supporting startups and SMMEs in international trade. Since then, Tracy's team has assisted 35,000+ businesses, reaching 32,000 traders monthly through newsletters. She's contributed to publications like Entrepreneurs Magazine and SME Toolkit, spoken at trade events, and participated in customs forums. Import Export License helped with the pilot trial to launch customs' new online registration platform (RLA). Through Trade Logistics she has launched 3 online import-export training courses. She holds an Honours degree from Stellenbosch University and a Cum Laude Masters from Middlesex University. In her spare time, Tracy enjoys running, mountain biking, playing piano, and cherishing moments with her husband and four children.