Export to South Africa

export to South Africa

South Africa, the largest and most advanced economy in Africa, combines a well-developed infrastructure with vibrant emerging markets and considerable consumer spending power. This is especially good news for businesses from Ireland as bilateral trade has been growing steadily, reaching almost €1.2 billion in 2012.

Ireland and South Africa have similar business cultures, supported by a common language and similar legal and financial systems. Combined with South Africa’s strategic location, this makes the country an ideal gateway for Irish businesses looking to expand their overall trade to and within Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sources: DHL, Enterprise Ireland, GOV.UK, McKinsey Global Institute, The World Bank

For more detailed information when trading with South Africa, download our South Africa Fact Sheet.



South Africa Fact Sheet (3MB)

Read more detailed
information about South Africa

DHL Facts

Locations: 77

Gateways into the Country: 2

Number of Service Centres: 11

DHL Delivery Zone: 8

Vehicle Fleet: 198

South Africa: Country Profile
Capital: Pretoria (administrative); Cape Town (legislative); Bloemfontein (judicial) IMPORTS INTO SOUTH AFRICA
Population: 48.6 million Imports into
South Africa:
US$105 billion (2012 est.)
Area: 1,219,090 sq km Import
Machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments and foodstuffs
Currency: 1 rand (ZAR) = 100 cents Top Import Origins: Germany, UK, Belgium, USA, the Netherlands, China, Sweden and Hong Kong
GDP: US$592 billion (2012 est.) EXPORTS FROM SOUTH AFRICA
Time Zones: 1 time zone, UTC +2; no daylight savings time observed Exports from
South Africa:
US$100.7 billion (2012 est.)
Languages: 11 official languages; English is widely spoken Export Commodities: Gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment
Ethnic Groups: Black African 79%, white 9.6%, coloured (mixed heritage) 8.9%, Indian or Asian 2.5% Top Export Origins: Canada, UK, Australia, USA, Angola, Namibia, Kenya, Germany and the Netherlands
Transit Times
The times provided for dutiable shipments are based on the time expected for customs in South Africa to clear the shipment. This is contingent upon the value of the shipment. Destination Non-Dutiable Shipment Dutiable Shipment
Pretoria 2 days 2 days
Johannesburg 2 days 2 days
Cape Town 2 days 2 days
Durban 2 days 3 days
Port Elizabeth 3 days 3 days
  • Further Information

    DHL can assist you with trading with South Africa. Contact the DHL team on 1890 725 725

    DHL Customer Services is also available on 1890 725 725

Prohibited Items Specific to South Africa

The list below is in addition to DHL’s standard list of prohibited items.

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Antiques
  • Asbestos
  • Dangerous goods,hazardous or combustible materials
  • Firearms or parts of
  • Furs
  • Ivory
  • Jewellery
  • Pairs of shoes
  • Pornography
  • Precious metals and stones
  • Used textile articles

Restricted items specific to South Africa:

Advertising brochures and pamphlets, hardback and paperback books for non-commercial use, business cards, calendars, general business documents, technical, architectural or engineering drawings, magazines, periodicals, journals and slides must weigh less than 10kg.

Computer software is limited to 6 CDs; there are no restrictions on music CDs.

Drugs: Non-prescription
Vitamins, diet, herbal and food supplements may be imported for private use only and are limited to two bottles. A Section 21 certificate must be completed and stamped by the Department of Port Health.

Drugs: Prescription
A Section 21 authorisation by the Medical Control Council is required prior to shipping. Class 4-8 medicines also require a MBR 20.

Textiles and textile articles
Textile samples are limited to 5 items. Items must be mutilated or have a prominent, permanent ink stamp. Full duties apply to clothing sent to Charitable Organisations.

Personal effects
An inventory of contents is required, but no commercial invoice. The owner must hold a South African passport with exit and re-entry stamps in it.

Photographs must weigh less than 10 kg; photographs sent from the USA must be sent as goods.

Price tickets for garments and architectural, industrial or engineering plans or drawings may only be sent if they are contained in bids and proposals.

Shoe samples must be mutilated and stamped.

The importer must be registered with South African Customs, hold a valid importers code (which must be clearly marked on the commercial invoice) and have a valid permit from the Department of Agriculture for that particular product.

A phytosanitary certificate is required for coffee and coffee samples, cotton seed, grain samples, plants and plant products, seeds, tobacco and tea.

Wooden Crates (except plywood, chipboard and compressed fibreboard) must have ISPM15 stamp and registration number to show fumigated.

For ship spares, used goods and x-ray machines, please contact DHL Customer Services before shipping.