Thursday 15 April 2021
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Namibian carbon tax takes SA car rental by surprise

The newly introduced carbon emissions tax imposed by Namibia on South African-registered vehicles bonded for rental in the country has caught the South African car-hire industry unawares, according to the South African tourism information website, Tourism Update. The tax came into force on July 11 and is levied at border crossings. It affects renters of all vehicle types, including motorhomes. Tourism Update was alerted to the development by Tim Bouwers, MD of Bobo Motorhomes, who said there had been no prior consultation on the implementation. “This tax is raised on all rental vehicles that are bonded by the rental company at the South Africa/Namibia border every time it is used in Namibia for hire,” he said. “This could mean that the same vehicle can be charged this carbon tax a few times a year if it’s taken out of Namibia to be used in SA, for example, and then returned to Namibia.”

The level of tax is dependent on the carbon emission level of the model. “Currently, it stands at around R5 500 for a Toyota Hilux, R7 500 for a Nissan NP300 2.5 TDI and around R11 000 for a Land Cruiser,” commented Bouwers. It is understood that vehicles would be impounded if the tax is not paid. The question is which party will bear the cost of the tax, what are the implications on rental rates and for Namibia – which is a significant self-drive destination?Namibian rental companies purchasing Namibian vehicles are unlikely to suffer the consequences, as the tax is included in the purchase price of a new vehicle. “We South African companies are punished for doing a good job there,” said Bouwers.

Said Fiona Angelico, Global and National Sales and Marketing Manager of Thrifty Car Rentals: “The Namibian carbon tax came as a surprise to us, when moving vehicles across the border for an international customer. There was no prior notice or communication. Searching the web did not provide us with clarity or information.”Rebone Motsatsi, Executive Commercial for Avis Budget Southern Africa, told Tourism Update: “We are aware of the development. It is very recent and there is uncertainty on the matter at the moment. We have taken it up with the Car Rental Association of Namibia and are awaiting feedback. What is certain is, if implemented, it will have an impact on the cost of doing business.”

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