Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern - South Africa

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Report

South Africa’s position as the major financial center in the region, its sophisticated banking and financial sector, and its large, cash-based market may make it a target for transnational and domestic crime syndicates. The proceeds of the narcotics trade constitute the largest source of laundered funds in the country. Fraud (advance fee scams, beneficiary maintenance fraud, and deposit refund scams), theft, racketeering, corruption, currency speculation, credit card skimming, wildlife poaching, theft of precious metals and minerals, human trafficking, stolen cars, and the smuggling of goods are also sources of laundered funds. Many criminal organizations also are involved in legitimate business operations. In addition to criminal activity by South African nationals, observers note criminal activity by Nigerian, Pakistani, Andean, and Indian drug traffickers; Chinese triads; Taiwanese groups; Bulgarian credit card skimmers; Lebanese trading syndicates; and the Russian mafia. Some foreign nationals are using South African nationals, mostly women, to help them send money obtained from illegal activities out of the country. Investment clubs, known as stokvels, have been used as cover for pyramid schemes. In some instances, nominee structures have been exploited by criminals who intend to launder illicit funds by mixing those funds with legitimate assets held on someone else’s behalf. There is a significant black market for smuggled and stolen goods.

South Africa is not an offshore financial center, nor does it have free trade zones. South Africa does operate Industrial Development Zones (IDZs). Imports related to manufacturing or processing in the zones are duty free, provided the finished product is exported. IDZs are located in Port Elizabeth, East London, Richards Bay, and Johannesburg International Airport. The South African Revenue Service implements customs controls for these zones.

For additional information focusing on terrorist financing, please refer to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism, which can be found at: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/

DO FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ENGAGE IN CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS RELATED TO INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING THAT INCLUDE SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF US CURRENCY; CURRENCY DERIVED FROM ILLEGAL SALES IN THE U.S.; OR ILLEGAL DRUG SALES THAT OTHERWISE SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECT THE U.S.: NO

CRIMINALIZATION OF MONEY LAUNDERING:
“All serious crimes” approach or “list” approach to predicate crimes: All serious crimes
Are legal persons covered: criminally: YES civilly: YES

KNOW-YOUR-CUSTOMER (KYC) RULES:
Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs: Foreign: YES Domestic: YES
KYC covered entities: Banks, credit institutions, post office banks, foreign exchange dealers, securities traders and brokers, entities that issue traveler’s checks, real estate agents, gaming institutions, gold dealers, attorneys, used car dealers, and money lenders

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS:
Number of STRs received and time frame: 147,744: April 1, 2012 - March 31, 2013
Number of CTRs received and time frame: 6.1 million: April 1, 2012 - March 31, 2013
STR covered entities: Banks, credit institutions, post office banks, foreign exchange dealers, securities traders and brokers, entities that issue traveler’s checks, real estate agents, gaming institutions, gold dealers, attorneys, used car dealers, and money lenders

MONEY LAUNDERING CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS/CONVICTIONS:
Prosecutions: Not available
Convictions: Not available

RECORDS EXCHANGE MECHANISM:
With U.S.: MLAT: YES Other mechanism: YES
With other governments/jurisdictions: YES

South Africa is a member of the FATF and the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), a FATF-style regional body. Its most recent mutual evaluation can be found at: http://www.fatf-gafi.org/countries/s-t/southafrica/

ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES AND COMMENTS:

The Government of South Africa’s AML/CFT regime represents a solid legal and regulatory framework for countering illicit finance. Over the last few years, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), South Africa’s financial intelligence unit (FIU), has been working to enhance its effectiveness by providing investigators and prosecutors with high-quality, timely, and actionable financial intelligence. In 2013, the FIC submitted a bill to amend the FIC Act to the Ministry of Finance. The intent of the amendments is to move South Africa toward a more risk-based approach (RBA). The amendments reduce identification and verification requirements in some cases, and allow reporting institutions greater leeway to design their own methods to ensure compliance. These steps should, in turn, reduce the administrative burden for low-risk clients and promote financial inclusion.

During 2012/13, the FIC recovered R1,171 billion (approximately $117.1 million) in cash from the proceeds of crime. The FIC’s outreach efforts have resulted in the receipt of more than double the number of suspicious transaction reports (STRs) from mid-2012 to mid-2013, as compared with the previous twelve month period. The FIC also signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with 13 other FIUs, bringing the total number of signed MOUs to 53. South Africa provides technical assistance to other countries in the region in the areas of FIU analytical capability and asset forfeiture and confiscation.

While money laundering is a specific offense under the South African penal code, it is not often charged as a stand-alone offense. Instead, prosecutors typically include money laundering as a secondary charge in conjunction with other, predicate offenses. Accordingly, the government does not generally keep separate statistics for money laundering-related prosecutions, convictions, or forfeited assets.

South Africa’s focus on the RBA is designed to target high-impact cases involving large amounts of money and greater numbers of criminals. South Africa should continue to implement its initiatives to promote financial inclusion and its application of the RBA, and enhance the effectiveness of the FIC. The government also should work to improve its law enforcement and prosecutorial capacity and ensure the relevant AML/CFT authorities generate and report statistics in line with international standards.

South Africa should continue to develop cooperation among the National Prosecuting Authority, the South African Police Service, and the FIC to increase the number of successful prosecutions. The South Africa Police Service is working with international partners to build financial investigative capacity to better assist the Asset Forfeiture Division of the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations.