Port Regulations Can be a Double-Edged Sword

28 March 2024, Paul Matthew, Business Day

In this article, we are explaining the vital role Government regulations play in ensuring a fair, safe, and sustainable food sector, and ensuring that business is compliant with standards set out by the country’s laws. Yet if they are implemented without the accompanying measures to mitigate unintended consequences, they can spell disaster.

The veterinary inspection decision — introduced without notice — has a range of damaging consequences and is placing unbearable pressure on SA ports, on the inspectors themselves, on cold store facilities, and importers of critical foodstuffs.

The entire value chain for food will be in further peril unless the Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) and Border Management Authority (BMA) come up with an urgent plan to either increase capacity for inspections and inspecting hours or revert to the former system until they are able to put measures in place to address the backlog.


As a result of the challenges faced by our members, AMIE launched an urgent interdict application on the 4th of March 2024, to stop the new conditions that mandate full inspections, breaking of seals, and offloading every consignment in the presence of inspectors, which results in backlogs and escalating demurrage charges to members.

The case was heard in the Urgent Court yesterday (27 March 2024). The presiding judge, Potterill J, ordered that the BMA must only issue removal permits with the condition that the Inspector must break the seal based on risk assessment criteria determined by the BMA. This will mean that the BMA cannot impose this condition on all the removal permits concerning meat consignments. Therefore status quo that existed pre-February has now been restored. Read the Court Order

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