FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Weapons of mass destruction
- What are weapons of mass destruction?
Nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; and their means of delivery (missiles) are referred to as weapons of mass destruction.
- Why weapons of mass destruction controls?
There are goods or technology, that are traded widely and have a vast array of commercial applications but have the potential to be used in the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction. Due to the potential to be misused, these ‘dual-use’ goods and technologies have to be controlled to ensure peaceful application.
- Who is the Council?
The South African Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction is a statutory body appointed by the Minister of Trade and Industry to control and manage matters relating to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
- What are the functions of the Council?
According to the Non-Proliferation Act, the Council shall, on behalf of the State, protect the interests, carry out the responsibilities and fulfil the obligations of the Republic with regard to non‑proliferation, and advise the Minister of Trade and Industry with regard to any matter which it deems necessary and which falls within the purview of this Act. The functions of the Council are elaborated in section 6 of the Act.
- How frequently does the Council meet?
The Council meets every six to eight weeks to deliberate on non-proliferation related issues, to assess the activities of its committees and to consider permit applications received from industry.
- How can I get in contact with the Council?
You can contact the Non-Proliferation Secretariat on (012) 394 3030 or (012) 394 5779 or email email@example.com
- Who must register with the Council?
Any person who is in control of any activity with regard to controlled goods; or who has in his possession controlled goods must register with the Council in accordance with Government Notice No. R16 of 03 February 2010.
- How do I register with the Council?
The registration is done through the Non-Proliferation Council Online System.
- What is the validity of the registration with the Council?
Registration with the Council is valid for a period of two years. The registered person will receive a reminder from the Non-Proliferation Council Online System through their email address to renew the registration, two months prior to the expiry date of the registration.
- What are the types of permits that the Council issues?
- Individual Export / Import Permit
- Individual or Open Multiple Export / Import Permit (Issue-on-Request)
- Open Multiple Export / Import Permit
- Individual or Open Multiple Transit Permit
- Manufacturing and Services Permit
- Provisional Export Guidance
Detailed information can be found under Permits.
- What are the validity period of the permits?
The permits validity varies between 3 months, 12 months and 2 years. Detailed information can be found under Permits.
- How do I amend an issued permit?
Amendment of an issued permit is done through the Non-Proliferation Council Online System. The conditions regarding permits are stated under General procedures to note with regards to permits.
- Can I extend an issued permit?
Permit extension is allowed on permits that are still valid. The conditions regarding permits are stated under General procedures to note with regards to permits.
EUC / Apostille, GTGA and IGA requirements
- What is an End Use Certificate?
Section 13(2)(c) of the Non Proliferation Act states that “The Minister may make the import, export, re-export or transit of such goods subject to end use requirements.” An End Use Certificate (EUC) is a written undertaking by the importer of controlled items or technology in a foreign country that any item purchased from South Africa and exported by South Africa to that foreign country, is for its sole stated use only. The purpose of an EUC is that the importer is committing that as the final recipient, the items or technology will not be alienated without the consent of the South African government. This undertaking is to assure the exporting country that the exported items or technology will not be diverted to uses not indicated in the EUC. The EUC must be an original document.
In some instances, you might come across an End-Use Statement, this document serves the same purpose.
- Under what circumstances will an EUC be required?
EUCs are recommended for the export of items and/or technology that are seen to be of a high proliferation risk. All applications for export are assessed and the requirement for an EUC is determined on a case-by-case basis after a thorough assessment of all non-proliferation risk factors are taken into consideration.
In terms of the non-proliferation legislation, an EUC is required for all exports of riot-control agents.
- How do I arrange for an EUC for export of non-proliferation controlled items or technology?
The seller/exporter in South Africa is responsible for obtaining an EUC from the buyer/importer in the foreign country.
The EUC must identify the controlled goods as well as the quantity of the controlled goods to be exported. The EUC must at all times state the place and date of issue; a reference number; the signature and name, as well as the title and position of the buyer / importer; and the conditions imposed by South Africa.
The EUC must include an official stamp and or seal legalising (authenticating) the EUC by the appointed Government authority in the buyer/importer’s country indicating that it is an authentic document. The foreign buyer/importer has to declare in the EUC that no controlled goods obtained from South Africa will be transferred or re-exported to any other entity in or outside the buyer/importer’s country without the prior consent of the relevant South African Authority. The EUC also has to state that the controlled goods will not be used for the development of weapons of mass destruction. A template for an EUC can be obtained from the Secretariat or on this website under Publications.
Upon receipt of this EUC by the seller/exporter, the EUC must be submitted at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Consular Services (Legalisation Section) in Pretoria for authentication. The physical address for DIRCO can be found at www.dirco.gov.za. Contact numbers are (012) 351 1000.
After the EUC has been authenticated, the original EUC must be submitted to the Non-Proliferation Council offices at the dtic Campus, Block B 3rd Floor, 77 Meintjies Street, Sunnyside, Pretoria. Contact Number (012) 394 3030 or (012) 394 5779.
- How do I arrange for an EUC for import of non-proliferation controlled items or technology?
The buyer/importer in South Africa must complete the EUC template that can be obtained from the Secretariat or on this website under Publications. In some instances, suppliers are the ones who will provide the template for the EUC or Statement.
The original completed EUC must be submitted to the Non-Proliferation Council offices at the dtic Campus, Block B 3rd Floor, 77 Meintjies Street, Sunnyside, Pretoria to be signed by the Council Chairperson and submitted to DIRCO Consular Services. After authentication by DIRCO Consular Services (Legalisation Section), the company will be contacted directly by DIRCO officials to collect the EUC. The physical address for DIRCO can be found at www.dirco.gov.za. Contact numbers are (012) 351 1000.
- What is authentication by means of an Apostille?
Authentication by attaching an Apostille is used in cases where both countries are party to The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (or referred to as the Apostille Convention). Therefore, an EUC from the importing country, duly authenticated by means of an apostille is usually accepted by the exporting country as authentic if the latter is also a state party to The Hague Convention. The list of member countries to The Hague Convention can be found on www.hcch.net.
If the EUC is issued by a state authority, it needs to be verified by the relevant competent authority designated in the foreign country; which can either be the state department responsible for foreign relations or any other organ of state formally mandated by that foreign country.
If an Apostille is issued, no further authentication is required or permitted by the South African diplomatic or consular representative abroad. Once the Apostille is attached to the EUC it shall be submitted directly to the DIRCO.
- What is a Government-to-Government Assurance (GTGA)?
Government-to-Government Assurances (GTGA) reflects a commitment by a government and could therefore be regarded as a formal undertaking by a government. GTGA requires a formal exchange of diplomatic notes (Note Verbale) since the commitment is always between governments.
According to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the principle behind the GTGA requirement is that notifications of particularly sensitive exports for nuclear end-use are conveyed directly between governments so that the legitimacy of the proposed export and End-Use can be verified.
Similarly, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) guides that the transfer of sensitive items will be authorised where the supplying government obtains binding government‐to‐government undertakings embodying the assurances from the recipient government which assumes responsibility for taking all steps necessary to ensure that the item is put only to its stated end‐use.
- What is the procedure to be followed to obtain GTGA?
The exporter must be in possession of a valid permit issued by the Council. The company needs to send a request to the Non-Proliferation Secretariat to initiate the process. The request will be forwarded to DIRCO to send a Note Verbale to the embassy of the recipient country. The recipient country must respond with a corresponding Note Verbale to declare that no controlled goods obtained from South Africa will be transferred or re-exported to any other entity in or outside the buyer/importer’s country without the prior consent of the relevant South African Authority; that the controlled goods will not be used for the development of weapons of mass destruction; and any other conditions as stated in the Note Verbale sent by DIRCO requesting the assurance.
- What is an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA)?
In international law, under Article 2 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a “treaty” is defined as: “an international agreement concluded between States in written form and governed by international law, whether embodied in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments and whatever its particular designation.”
Section 231 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa states that international agreements are negotiated and signed by the national executive. International agreements that are not of a technical, administrative or executive nature will only bind the country after being approved by Parliament.
- Under which circumstances would an IGA be used?
An IGA can be signed between states or between a state and an international organisation. The format of an IGA can be in a form of a treaty, convention, agreement, protocol or exchange of notes. IGAs are usually used for cooperation agreements between governments or as an agreement between governments to enable them to exchange information upon request.
In the rare case that the Council decides that a company needs an IGA as a risk mitigation mechanism, the list of agreements that are currently in place with the respective foreign country are first screened to identify appropriate agreements to cover the transaction before the possibility of negotiating a new agreement is considered.
SARS Customs Detention
- What must I do when SARS Customs has detained my consignment?
During working hours, you can email the inquiry to the Secretariat at the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The email must include the item description and could also include Technical Specifications or a Material Safety Data Sheet of the item. You can also contact the Secretariat at (012) 394 3116/5696/1826/3058/3367.
During afterhours you can call the following number 064 880 5210.
- How do I know if my item is controlled?
- Biological – if the biological agent is one of those listed under Government Notice No. 494 of 29 March 2019.
- Chemicals – if the chemical is one of those listed under Government Notice No. 320 of 08 April 2021.
- Nuclear-related item – if the item is one of those listed under Government Notice No. 319 of 08 April 2021 or categorised under Government Notice No. 493 of 29 March 2019.
- Missile-related item – if the item is one of those listed under Government Notice No. 318 of 08 April 2021.
You can also contact the Secretariat for any queries on email@example.com.