South Africa

South Africa to meet FATF to avoid gray list

South African authorities will meet peers from a global financial watchdog next week as they seek to avert being placed on its so-called gray list denoting nations with shortcomings in tackling illicit financial flows.

A delegation led by the National Treasury’s Acting-Director General Ismail Momoniat will meet with the Financial Action Task Force’s Joint Group in Rabat, Morocco, on Jan. 13, the National Treasury said on Friday in a statement.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa late last month signed into law two key pieces of legislation that was seen as an important in addressing deficiencies flagged by the watchdog.

Officials from the central bank, tax office and law enforcement agencies will participate in the meeting in which they’ll update the Paris-based body on progress by the South African authorities.

Africa’s most industrialized economy was found wanting in all 11 of the FATF’s effectiveness measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The evaluation was carried out in 2019 following an era of endemic graft during former President Jacob Zuma’s nine-year rule. Zuma, who quit in 2018 under pressure from the ruling party, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

The central bank has previously warned that gray-listing may have wide-reaching consequences for South Africa’s financial system.

Besides causing reputational damage, it could lead to capital and currency outflows, while transactional, administrative and funding costs for banks could increase, it said.

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