In response to the nationwide shutdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the South African Revenue Service (‘SARS’) has issued a binding general ruling to provide an extension to the prescribed timeframes for obtaining prescribed documents relating to the export of goods. In addition, the importation of 'essential goods’, subject to certain exceptions, qualifies for exemption from import VAT. Non-dutiable goods will not require an ITAC permit, and ‘critical supplies’, as listed by ITAC, will qualify for exemption from VAT and a full rebate of import duty. Registered importers must apply to ITAC, via email, to obtain the required import certificate, and 'essential goods' may only be exported under an ITAC permit. There is currently no listing of ‘essential goods’ that qualify for exemption from VAT and a full rebate of import duty, and it should be noted that the local supply of essential goods or critical supplies will attract VAT at the standard rate of 15%.