Greylisting: ‘South Africa had made significant progress,’ Mashatile tells NCOP

Deputy President Paul Mashatile

Deputy President Paul Mashatile

  • South Africa was greylisted by the Financial Action Task Force in February, which prescribed 67 recommended actions.
  • South Africa has addressed 52 of these, Deputy President Paul Mashatile told the National Council of Provinces on Thursday.
  • The remaining 15 are expected to be completed by January 2025.

South Africa has already addressed 52 of the 67 recommended actions that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) prescribed when it greylisted South Africa as a country not fully compliant with anti-money laundering measures.

However, South Africa is only expected to address the remaining 15 actions by January 2025, Deputy President Paul Mashatile told the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), where he was answering questions on Thursday afternoon.

DA MP Dennis Ryder asked the following question: “Whether, as chairperson of the Cabinet committee on Justice, Crime-Prevention and Security, he will focus on speedy prosecutions of high-profile cases in order to hasten South Africa’s removal from the Financial Action Task Force grey list?”

FATF, an intergovernmental body that sets global standards to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, greylisted South Africa in February, based on a 2019 assessment and a report compiled in 2021.

Mashatile said this report identified South Africa “as one of the countries with strategic deficiencies in relation to anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism” and prescribed 67 “recommended actions” that South Africa had to address.  

“According to the Financial Action Task Force, South Africa has made significant progress by addressing 52 of the 67 recommended actions,” said Mashatile.

“And we are now, honourable chairperson, focusing on the remaining 15 actions, which we should meet by January 2025. So, that’s the deadline that we have been given to finalise the remaining 15.”

Mashatile didn’t shed light on what these actions are, and what exactly is still to be done.

ANALYSIS | The real fall-out from greylisting

He said the Cabinet had mandated the interdepartmental committee on anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing to address the identified deficiencies “expeditiously”.

“This includes overseeing the implementation of the national strategy on anti-money laundering, and countering terror financing and tracking progress in the identified deficiencies,” he said.

“Honourable chairperson, our law enforcement agencies, including the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority], are implementing an integrated action plan to ensure a sustained increase in investigations and prosecutions of serious and complex money laundering cases.   

“The action plan focuses on cases involving professional money laundering networks and also third-party money laundering as well identifying, investigating and prosecuting terror financing activities in line with South Africa’s risk profile.”

“Through the Cabinet committee on justice, crime prevention and security (JCPS), which I chair, we will continue to enforce the implementation of the high level goals ensuring that all relevant agencies and departments are addressing these deficiencies as identified by the Financial Action Task Force.”

READ | South Africa has been greylisted by anti-money laundering watchdog

Responding to follow-up questions, Mashatile reaffirmed the independence of law enforcement agencies, and said no one would be treated as “special”.

He said “our own President” Cyril Ramaphosa has subjected himself to law enforcement agencies’ investigations into Phala Phala.

“Let’s not interfere. Let’s allow these agencies to do their work. They will do so,” he said.

“We must never interfere, especially the executive, in the work of the institutions we have set up.”

EFF MP Kenny Motsamai asked:

Which assurance can the deputy president provide that South Africa will be removed from the list, when the president of the country, Mr Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa himself is a criminal who stand[s] accused of money laundering at his Phala Phala farm?

NCOP chairperson Amos Masondo ordered Motsamai to withdraw his reference to Ramaphosa as a criminal.

Motsamai refused and was asked to leave the chamber, which he did.

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