Road Test - 12 step guide to vehicle rebates

For many years the government has allowed a Customs Import Duties rebate on imported vehicles and Ad Valorem Excise Duties rebate on locally manufactured new vehicles for people who have physical disabilities.

In April 2008 a meeting was held between the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities South Africa (NCPPDSA), National Automobile Association Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA), South African Revenue Services (SARS) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The procedure laid out below was agreed to by these parties.
The major change is the rebate amount on Customs Import duties which has been reduced from 34% to 29% of the Free on Board (FOB) duty, or ± 17% of the retail value of the vehicle (previously ± 20%).
In order to claim this rebate you require a permit is from DTI. It can save you a lot of money, but only if you are willing to follow the paper trail that goes with it.

So where do you start?

Step 1: Investigate the vehicle market and decide what vehicle you would like to buy, and why. You must look at both locally made and imported vehicles and be very clear as to why you are choosing the vehicle. DO NOT place an order for the vehicle.

Step 2: Speak to the company that is going to do the adaptations for you, get a written quotation and written description of the adaptations that they will be doing. The adaptations must be in line with the guidelines issued by DTI.

Step 3: Contact Sanet Ramsey,  at the NCPPDSA Head Office and request the relevant application forms. She specializes in vehicle rebates and will be able to give you all applicable information as well as contact details of your local regional offices.

The following forms are needed: DTI Application Form, Medical Report Form and Motivation Letter.

1. ) DTI application form. There are 4 different types of permits available , and thus 4 different application forms available so please be sure to request the correct one:

  • Imported vehicles to be driven solely by a person with a physical disability. (For Customs Duty)
  • Locally made vehicles to be driven solely by a person with a physical disability. (Ad Valorem Excise duty)
  • Imported vehicles for transporting persons with physical disabilities. (Customs Duty)
  • Locally made vehicles for transporting persons with physical disabilities. (Ad Valorem Excise duty)

2. ) Motivation Letter - You need to give a detailed description of the vehicle, describe your disability and explain what features the vehicle has that accommodate your needs. You must also explain which locally manufactured vehicles were considered and why they were not suitable and give a full description of the adaptation that will be done to the vehicle.

3. ) Medical Report – this needs to be completed by your Doctor.

Step 4: Complete the above mentioned forms and collect the following information:

  • Copy of drivers’ licence. For first time buyers without a licence, a learner’s licence is adequate.
  • Quotation from the company / individual that will do the adaptation.
  • Copy of ID book.
  • Motor manufacturer’s specification brochure.
  • Homologation certifi cate (available from the dealer) – this is the South African Bureau of Standard (SABS) approval of the vehicle for SA roads. If the vehicle is imported directly by a person with a physical disability, SABS must be contacted to obtain a LOA (Letter of Authority) For a second-hand imported vehicle, a letter of inspection from the seller must be given to SABS in order to get the LOA. This application has a cost involved.
  • Declaration of nominated driver(s), Registered Owners or Organisations – this is only for vehicles that are going to be used for transporting persons with physical disabilities. This must confirm who the nominated drivers are, and a copy of their IDs must be submitted with the application. Should the driver/s change later on, the NCPPDSA should be informed.

Step 5: Contact your nearest NCPPDSA office and make an appointment to see a panel of adjudicators. The Panel Report must be included with your application.

Step 6: Hand in all your paperwork – they need the original forms. This can be handed in at the office that did your Panel Report, or can be couriered or sent Registered mail to:
The National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities (NCPPDSA)

They will evaluate whether your claim is valid, then write a report supporting your application and submit the forms to the DTI on your behalf.

Step 7: The process can take up to 6 weeks to complete (this depends on which part of the country you are in). By this time, if all has gone well, you will be contacted by DTI and they will make the necessary arrangements with you to have it collected, mailed or couriered to you. If you have not received your permit from DTI in this time then contact Mr Isaac Fenyane

Step 8: With your permit in your hand you may now place an order for your new vehicle. It is very important that the date on the permit is before the customs date, if it is not then your permit will be invalid and no rebate will be applicable.

Step 9: Most companies will organise to have the adaptations done before you take ownership of the vehicle. However you may choose to organise this yourself.

Step 10: When you pay for the vehicle, DO NOT PAY THE FULL RETAIL AMOUNT. You are entitled to pay only the reduced amount (i.e excluding the rebate amount). It is the companies’ responsibility to claim back the rebate from SARS, this is not the individual’s responsibility. If you are not sure if you were given the correct rebate amount, you are welcome to contact
NCPPDSA and they will refer your query to SARS.

Step 11: Once all the adaptations have been completed, either the dealer or the client must take it to customs to have it cleared. Again an appointment must be made for this. A copy of the sign-off letter must be given to the dealer. This enables them to claim back the rebate amount. To find your nearest customs office check out the SARS website- Under ‘Quick Contacts’ click on ‘Customs and Border Posts’, then ‘Harbours and Internal Offices’.

Step 12: Enjoy your new independence, but watch out for the petrol bill!

Please be aware of the following:

  • No rebates will be issued on commercial vehicles for individual use.
  • An individual may only apply for a rebate every 5 years. According to the conditions contained in the Rebate item of the customs and excise Act 91 or 1964, the vehicle may not be offered, advertised, lent, hired, leased, pledged, given away,
    exchanged, sold or otherwise disposed of without the prior consent of the DTI within a period of 5 years from the date of entry under the rebate item.
  • Should a vehicle be stolen or written off in an accident during this period,
  • permission may be granted by the Director General of DTI to be allowed to renew the rebate.
  • Proof of what happened to the vehicle must be sent to the Director General, and the decision will be made at his discretion.


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