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AFRO-NETS> Tax on Malaria Prevention Products



Tax on Malaria Prevention Products
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South Africa tax malaria prevention - why did South Africa sign the 
Abuja declaration?

During 2000 'Reduce Malaria Burden Consortium' (RMBC) received a cer-
tificate from the president of the World Bank for its endeavours to 
combat Malaria and poverty through the use of mosquito bednets. 

Annually Malaria kills millions of people (mostly children) in Africa 
- Pandemic in South Africa

During 2000, RMBC received an import permit for the importation of 
bednets for the National Malaria Control Programme of South Africa. 
The benefit of tax relief on these bednets allowed for a larger num-
ber of bednets to be delivered to the afflicted communities within a 
limited budget. - The 2000 permit was issued as a result of RMBC's 
referral to the WHO Roll Back Malaria Summit in Abuja on 25 April 
2000, where a declaration was signed by all Africa Heads of States or 
their Ministries of Health, calling for the complete abolishing or 
reduction of import taxes on mosquito bednets and malaria preventa-
tive products.

The South African Minister of Health signed this declaration!

The 2001 import permit application for the same malaria programme in 
Northern Province and Mpumalanga was refused on 22 March by Ms 
Mxakato-Diseko, Chairperson, South Africa Board of Trade and Industry 
(Tel: +27-12-428-7742) who said the Abuja Declaration is not a bind-
ing document - wonder why they accepted it last year?

THE ISSUE:
South Africa Customs in Durban stopped the consignment on the way to 
the Malaria programme of Northern Province and refused to enter into 
any discussion on the merits of the consignment, the Abuja Declara-
tion or the fact that the very same goods had an import permit with 
zero tax less than 3 months ago. Customs enforced a different tariff 
heading with 37% tax and a heavy penalty.

ZAR 239,000.00 had to be paid before the container with mosquito nets 
was released!

This comes at the same time when RMBC donated 19,000 bars of mosquito 
repellent soap to the Malaria afflicted community in Northern Prov-
ince (Mr. Kruger Tel: +27-15-307-3736).

RMBC expected respect for the Minister of Health's Abuja commitment, 
acknowledgement of a previous permit and efforts to help poor (ma-
laria afflicted) communities - RMBC never expected to be penalized so 
severely.

I am sure that future international humanitarian support might be ad-
versely affected if South Africa does not honour international obli-
gations.

* What about the fact that the nets are from a SADC country?
* What about the purpose of the Abuja Declaration?
* What about a precedent that was set with the previous permit?

I call on all malaria related campaigners to show your support by 
sending an e-mail to the Board of Trade and Industry at any of the 
following email addresses <ndiseko@dti.pwv.gov.za> or 
<Winkela@dti.pwv.gov.za> with the following request: "PLEASE RESPECT 
THE ABUJA DECLARATION, WAIVE TAXES ON MALARIA PREVENTION PRODUCTS".

Healthy blessings,

Jacques du Preez
Chairman RMBC (Reduce Malaria Burden Consortium)
South Africa
mailto:rmbc20@hotmail.com

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