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National Heritage Resources Act, 1999 (Act No. 25 of 1999)

Chapter II : Protection and Management of Heritage Resources

Part 2 : General protections

33. Import of objects protected in terms of laws of foreign states


(1) No person may import into South Africa any foreign cultural property other than through a customs port of entry, and the export permit or other permission issued in the country of origin of such object must be produced to a customs officer before import to South Africa is effected or allowed.


(2) After a cultural property agreement between South Africa and a reciprocating state comes into force, no person may import into South Africa any foreign cultural property that has been illegally exported from a reciprocating state.


(3) A customs officer who has reason to believe that a person is attempting to import an object in contravention of subsection (1) or (2), may withhold the object concerned and such object must be kept in the custody of SAHRA until such time, not exceeding six months, as an investigation into the provenance of such object is completed.


(4) SAHRA may, with the consent of the Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, liaise and co-operate with the authority responsible for the protection of cultural property in any reciprocating state and may enter into agreements with any such authority with regard to the return to the country of origin of any heritage object or cultural property which is illegally imported into South Africa or the reciprocating state, whether specifically or in general.