Rene Hattingh (South Africa)

Master of International Customs Law and Administration (MICLA)-  September 2011

Current Job Position: National Compliance Manager for an International Freight Forwarding and Clearing company.

I started my career as a Customs official straight after completing high school.  I worked for the South African Revenue Services (Customs) for 21 years.  During that time I was exposed to various positions within the organization and every day I experienced something new in my work.  Being a Customs Officer is such a diverse, interesting and at times complicated career, but I enjoyed every minute of my work. Through a selection process, SARS offered a few of us the opportunity to enrol in the Centre for Customs & Excise Studies (CCES) study programme. It was a once in a life time opportunity, and a life changing experience for me as well as my family, since they had to support me through long hours of study and very little private time.

During my studies with CCES, I enjoyed the constant feedback and guidance from the lecturers, as well as the course material where I got to know about different treaties, conventions, best practices and supply chain management to name a few. We also learned how customs organizations operate globally in conjunction with various role players like WTO/ WCO.  I enjoyed interacting with my fellow students from all over the world and the one thing that stood out for me more than anything, is that no matter in which country we are and for which Customs authority we work, we all speak the same language and deal with the same issues. This made the studies so much more interesting.

During the time of my studies I was selected by SARS management to be Acting Branch Manager at OR Tambo International Airport through their modernization process.  After completing my studies I was transferred to SARS head office where I was the Key Industry Manager responsible for Precious Metal, Meat and Dairy Products. During 2012 I left SARS and accepted a position with an International Clearing and Forwarding Company as their National Compliance Manager, responsible for all Customs affairs, Cargo Security Part 108 as well as all other regulatory activities within the company.

SARS has also been in the process of rewriting the Customs & Excise Act 91 of 1964 into a New Control and Duty Bill that is scheduled to come into effect in 2015.  I was nominated by the South African Association of Freight Forwarders as their project leader to consolidate and present the South African Freight Industry’s comments and input to SARS on the new legislation before it becomes law.

The MICLA studies I have completed have really given me a broader understanding and global perspective on Customs practices, which has assisted me greatly with the various responsibilities and positions I have experienced since graduating in 2011. I feel encouraged by the empowerment and knowledge gained to pursue my studies even further towards a full Doctorate Degree.