by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SOUTH Africa’s grey listing by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) raises concern about the state of its financial institutions, law enforcement agencies and investment environment.
FATF last week put the country on a ‘grey list’ for falling short of certain international standards for the combating of money laundering and other serious financial crimes.
This has caused much concern in Africa’s most industrialized economy which however is beset by corruption.
President Cyril Ramaphosa however believes the grey listing was being blown out of proportion.
“The situation is concerning but less dire than some people suggest,” Ramaphosa stated in his weekly letter on Monday.
“We have gone through a rigorous process of addressing the issues that FATF has raised with us,” the president said.
Ramaphosa said the fundamentals were in place to get South Africa off the grey list.
“We are determined to do this as quickly as possible,” he said.
“This is important not only for our international standing, but also for our own ability to fight these crimes in our country.”
Ramaphosa said since the dawn of democracy in 1994, South Africa had sought to build credible, independent institutions and implement effective laws to deal with complex financial crimes of this nature.
Last week, Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana announced in the Budget that additional funds will be allocated to the police, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Special Investigating Unit and Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) to strengthen the fight against crime and corruption.
FATF is a global body that aims to tackle global money laundering and terrorist financing.
South Africa has been a member for the last 20 years.
Ramaphosa believes the grey listing is an opportunity to tighten controls and improve our response to organised crime.
“This will ultimately place us on a stronger footing to effectively fight these damaging and dangerous crimes,” he concluded.
The main opposition, Democratic Alliance, believes the grey listing is an indictment of South Africa’s criminal justice system and the government’s inability to combat financial crimes such as money laundering and terrorism financing.
“The greylisting has placed our nation at significant risk, as the rest of the world now views South African companies and individuals as high-risk counterparties in global transactions,” said Dion George, DA Shadow Minister of Finance.
– CAJ News