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HCFC customs training a success

We received the following report back from the local Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA)’s Lubabalo Maweni on the progress with regards to the HCFC phase out and training of customs officials…

Objectives
The training had the following objectives:
• To strengthen the control ODSs and other related refrigerants imported and exported through South African sea ports of entries. 
• To strengthen the implementation and enforcement of ODS Regulations at the ports of entries. 
• To provide an overview on the management of ODSs which include the licensing system and quota allocations.
• To introduce the background, provisions and phase-out schedules of the Montreal Protocol.
• To provide trainees with the skills and equipment to safely inspect refrigerants related consignments (for example mislabelling).
• To train inspectors on the practical use of the ‘Portable Refrigerant Identifiers and Tariff Heading’ quick tool document.
• To train customs and enforcement officers on the identification method of imported and exported hazardous waste.

Training 
Training was organised and undertaken by the DEA in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). The training was on ODSs, management of ODSs and the trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste where methods of receiving such consignments were outlined.

The first segment of the training was conducted at the Durban port in November 2014 over a period of three days. The training comprised of customs inspectors, ITAC inspectors, and DEA enforcement officers.

The second segment of the training was undertaken between October and November 2015 at all four sea ports of entries (Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London). The training was then extended to two land boarders (Beitbridge and Johannesburg dry port).

Trainees were provided with the following materials:
• UNEP Training Manual for Customs and Enforcement Officers (Third edition)
• UNEP booklet: Risk Assessment of illegal trade in HCFCs
• Customs Officers Quick Tool for screening ODS
• Writing pad and pen

After the training, portable analysers were handed over to the various customs offices, ITAC and DEA Compliance Monitoring Unit. These will be used at the ports of entries and at the importers/exporters premises for compliance monitoring purposes.

Way forward 
The training will resume in the 2016/17 financial year for the land borders. Grobblersdal, Kopfontein, Lebombo and OR Tambo will be trained from May 2016 onwards. This will ensure that customs is well equipped when facilitating refrigerants trade all over the country. The trained ports will also be revisited to provide technical support and strengthen the confidence of the customs and enforcement officers when handling and monitoring ODSs and non-ODS refrigerant imports and exports. The National Regulators for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) and Department of Labour (DoL) will also be trained in future.

Acknowledgement 
The Department would like to acknowledge the following organisations and institutions for making the training possible:
• DEA Chemicals Management, Green Scorpions and Enforcement Unit 
• Customs head office and regional offices
• UNIDO
• ITAC
• DAFF
• A-Gas
• SARACCA
• SAQCC Gas

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