Essence of the Second Hand Goods Act

1. The Act is aimed at regulating dealers who purchase and sell second-hand goods.

2. The Act serves to ensure that the second-hand goods being purchased or sold are:

2.1 not stolen goods; and

2.2 to ensure that the dealer does not operate as a pawn broker.

3. The Act has therefore set out certain procedures that must be followed and certain rules and regulations that must be complied with.


1. Every person who carries on a business of dealing in second-hand goods is identified as a dealer and must be registered in terms of the Act. To access a copy of the registration form, please click on the link below:

2. Upon completion of the registration process, the respective dealer receives a prescribed certificate of registration which authorises him to carry on business in respect of second-hand goods.

3. This registration as a dealer remains valid for a period of five years from the date the certificate is issued and must be renewed upon expiration.

Record Keeping by Dealers

1. Once a dealer receives the prescribed certificate, he can start acquiring and selling second-hand goods.

2. All dealers who acquire and sell second-hand goods are required to keep a “register or record book”.

3. This register or record book must contain the prescribed particulars / details regarding each and every acquisition or sale of second-hand goods.

4. The dealer is obliged to obtain at least the following prescribed particulars:

4.1 the identity of the person from whom the second-hand goods were acquired including:

4.1.1 full names, contact address and contact numbers;

4.1.2 the manner in which the person’s identity was verified; and

4.1.3 the person’s ID number.

4.2 a description of the goods and the serial number or a distinguishing feature of the goods;

4.3 the purchase price paid by the dealer;

4.4 the number assigned to the second-hand goods by the dealer; and

4.5 the date and time of the transaction, the date on which the goods were sold or how and when the goods were sold.

5. The person purchasing or selling the second-hand goods to the dealer must furnish the dealer with his full name, physical address and original ID document as proof of identity.

6. The dealer should then keep a copy of the person’s ID for verification purposes.

7. You will note that the above process is very information, document and time intensive.

Powers of the Police Official

1. The essence of keeping a register or record book is to allow police officials to monitor the second-hand goods dealers and ensure that they are complying with the Act and not selling stolen goods.

2. The police officials can enter the premises of a registered dealer during business hours, after demanding admission and giving notice to enter, to conduct an investigation on whether that dealer is complying with the Act.

3. The police official may after inspection of the premises require the dealer to produce the following documents:

3.1 the certificate of registration;

3.2 the register or record book relating to the goods;

3.3 any goods on the premises for him to conduct an examination; or

3.4 to explain any entries or absences in the register.

4. Should the dealer fail to produce any of the above documents or provide the necessary explanations, that police official will consider the dealer to be in contravention of the Act and will therefore:

4.1 demand that the dealer discontinue contravening the Act; and

4.2 afford the dealer a period of 7 (seven) days to rectify the method, failing which the police official can then attend to a search, seizure and seal-off.

5. The police official however, cannot perform a search, seizure and seal-off without first acquiring a warrant enabling him to do so unless:

5.1 the dealer consents to the search, seizure and removal of goods; or

5.2 if the police official on reasonable grounds believes that the time is of the essence to act and the delay in obtaining the warrant would defeat the purpose.

[gap]Offences and Penalties

1. If the police official after conducting his investigation finds that there has been non-compliance by the dealer in that he failed to register as a dealer and/or failed to keep a proper register or record, that dealer can be found guilty by the National Commissioner of an offence.

2. The sanction in respect of being found guilty of an offence is imprisonment of up to 10 (ten) years.

3. In addition to the sanction of imprisonment, a court may:

3.1 impose a further imprisonment sentence if the non-compliance with the Act was of a very serious nature;

3.2 suspend or cancel any exemption granted; and

3.3 order that the second-hand goods be forfeited to the State.

Remedial Action for the Dealer

1. A dealer who has been sanctioned by the Act does have recourse to have that sanction appealed by the Minister.

2. An application for appeal can be made to the Minister by the dealer.

3. The Minister can then after considering the application and circumstances either confirm, set aside or amend the decision or make such order that is fair and practical.

Condonation and Extension of Time

1. The National Commissioner may on good cause shown and on grounds which are not in conflict with this Act, extend any period contemplated in this Act to any dealer, allowing that dealer to comply with the provisions of the Act.