The SA Revenue Service says it is doing groundwork to give effect to a Cabinet instruction to engage authorities in the United States on joining the Megaports Initiative (MPI).
Cabinet spokesman Themba Maseko in September said SARS had been “authorised to enter into discussions with the United States to explore South Africa’s participation in the MPI.
“The MPI is a US government initiative which aims to create a bilateral cooperation network to prevent the illicit movement of nuclear materials and other radio active isotopes that might be used for weapons of mass destruction,” he added.
“In this regard, an Interdepartmental Task Team (ITT) will be set up to consider the implications of South Africa`s possible participation in the initiative. The Task Team will consist of the departments of Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs, National Intelligence Agency, Transport, Public Enterprises and Science and Technology,” he said.
SARS says it is now engaging with various domestic stakeholders concerning the setting up of the ITT “to collectively and more fully explore the MPI before further discussions with the US”.
“The Task Team, once established, will make its recommendation to Cabinet after due discussion and deliberation. Given that the process remains at an early stage, it would be pre-emptive to comment on cost or other implications,” a spokesman said in a written reply to a defenceWeb question regarding progress with the ITT on the MPI.
SARS adds that the MPI is already operational in 12 ports, with implementation at various stages in a further 18, including in China, Egypt and Malaysia.
“To ensure the long-term maintenance and sustainability of installed systems, a strong emphasis is placed upon training host country personnel to operate and maintain the systems,” the NNSA`s web site notes.
“As an integral element of the US maritime security strategy, NNSA has established a close partnership with the Department of Homeland Security`s
(DHS) Secure Freight Initiative (SFI), Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of North America, Container Security Initiative (CSI) and complements the efforts of DHS` Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), U.S. Coast Guard`s
International Port Security Program (IPSP) and the Department of State`s
Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).”
Locally, SARS has been a CSI partner since 2003.
“SA has also committed to implementing the World Customs Organisation`s (WCO) Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate global trade (SAFE Framework), along with 153 other WCO members,” the SARS spokesman added.