South African Government

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Import fresh meat

What you should do
How long does it take
How much does it cost
Forms to complete
Who to contact



About importing fresh meat into or moving it in transit through South Africa

If you want to import fresh (raw) meat (including offal) into the Republic of South Africa, or move such meat in transit through the country, legislation requires you to apply for and be granted a veterinary import permit or in transit permit from the Director: Animal Health. You must obtain this permit before the consignment leaves the exporting country.

Veterinary import permits are valid for a limited period and for one consignment only. Imports via third countries are generally not accepted.

The Director of Animal Health of South Africa will only issue veterinary import or in transit permits for fresh (raw) meat for countries where he/she has evaluated and approved the veterinary services and animal health status. (Information available from, tel. 012 319 7700 or fax 012 329 6892.)

There are import protocols in place that are specific to individual countries based on the products and the animal health situation there. As the health requirements change often, please contact the Directorate: Animal Health (tel: 012 319 7420 /7524 /7700, fax 012 329 6892) to obtain the latest requirements.

It is your responsibility as the importer to read and comply with the conditions on the veterinary import permit.

In terms of the Meat Safety Act, 2000 (Act 40 of 2000) frozen and chilled meat may only be imported from abattoirs, cutting and meat preparation plants that have been approved by the National Executive Officer of South Africa.

A list of approved establishments can be obtained from the Directorate: Animal Health or call 012 319 7700 or fax a request to 012 329 6892.

Meat consignments imported from overseas via the sea route may only be imported in reefer containers. No break bulk consignments will be accepted. Fresh (raw) meat may only be imported if chilled or frozen at the temperatures stipulated in the veterinary import permit.

What you should do

  1. Complete the application to import/move in transit meat into/through the Republic of South Africa form.
  2. If the products are in transit through the Republic of South Africa, you must submit a copy of the veterinary import permit from the country of final destination with the application for a South African veterinary in-transit permit.
  3. You must pay for the permit.
  4. Deposit the permit fee into the Department’s bank account:
    • Name of bank: Standard Bank of South Africa
    • Name of account holder: National Department of Agriculture
    • Account No: 011219556 International Band
    • Branch: 010845
    • IB brand 0001982 Centre Code
    • Swift Code: SBZA-ZAJJ
    • Name of the branch: Arcadia
  5. In cases where you are applying on behalf of someone else, please make sure that you pay in the name of that person or company. The reference must be the importer’s name and surname.
  6. Payments can also be made at the offices of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries listed under contacts details.
  7. You are responsible for bank charges as well as the foreign bank charges; the department will not issue a permit if the full fee of is not received. (The costs are revised annually and published in the Government Gazette).
  8. A cheque made payable to the Director-General: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ may be attached to the application form and be posted.
  9. Send the completed form and proof of payment to:
    • The Director: Animal Health
    • Import Export Policy Unit
    • Private Bag X138
    • Pretoria
    • 0001
    • South Africa
  10. No application will be processed without proof of payment. Proof of the deposit must be faxed to 012 329 8292 for attention: Ina Labuschagne.
  11. Please state on the application form whether the permit will be collected or should be mailed to you.
  12. Following receipt of the completed application form and proof of payment, a veterinary import permit and a veterinary health certificate template will be issued and sent directly to you.
  13. You must obtain a veterinary health certificate from the veterinary authorities in the exporting country before the product is shipped. This health certificate must comply with the conditions stipulated in the South African veterinary import permit or must have been negotiated between the veterinary authorities of South Africa and the exporting country.
  14. If you need any information on the exact requirements for a specific animal product, you can obtain specimen copies of the veterinary import permit and the veterinary health certificate from the Permit Office.
  15. You must present the following to the South African veterinary import control officer at the port of entry:
    • Original veterinary import permit
    • Original veterinary health certificate.
  16. All consignments of meat must be inspected at one of following inspection sites stipulated on the import permit:
    • Durban, tel: 031 337 4346/7
    • Cape Town, tel: 021 551 2050
    • City Deep (only from neighbouring countries), tel:011 613 1636
    • Port Elizabeth (by prior arrangement), tel: 041 585 8907.

How long does it take

Once the state veterinarian at the national office has approved the importation, it takes three to five working days to process the application and issue the permit.

How much does it cost


Forms to complete

Application to import/move in transit meat into/through the Republic of South Africa

Who to contact