COSATU welcomes Parliament’s passing of the General Laws Amendment (Money Laundering and Combatting Terrorism Financing) Bill

13 December 2022

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and its Affiliate, SACTWU, welcomes Parliament’s passing of the General Laws Amendment (GLA) (Money Laundering and Combatting Terrorism Financing) Bill on Tuesday 13 December 2022. 

COSATU and SACTWU welcome the GLA Bill as a long overdue response by government to address gaps in our legislation dealing with corruption, money laundering and the financing of terrorism. We hope that the provisions of the Bill will address these loopholes and further empower the state to deal with these criminal scourges. 

Workers have felt the pain and real consequences of state capture, corruption, money laundering and the financing of terrorism.  These cancers have bled the fiscus of billions of Rands. It has resulted in public servants being denied their increases, SOE employees retrenched, municipal workers unpaid, public services deteriorating and the economy suffocating from load shedding and austerity budget cuts. 

The nation cannot afford the risks of grey listing which will discourage, and in many instances, prohibit badly needed investments in an economy still struggling to recover from a devastating recession, a global pandemic, the July 2021 violence, the 2022 floods and rising inflation. 

COSATU and SACTWU supported Parliament’s expediting the passage of the Bill to avoid a possible grey listing and the subsequent impact on jobs and investments.  Parliament however does need to hold accountable Treasury and other departments who time and again delay drafting and tabling critical bills and then place inordinate pressure on Parliament and undermine the space for public participation.  At times progressive bills cannot be passed into law because of this tardiness and a complete lack of urgency by departments and sleepy Ministries.

COSATU and SACTWU welcome the Bill’s provisions strengthening the roles, responsibilities and powers of the Financial Intelligence Centre, the Auditor General and the South African Revenue Service. Provisions requiring transparency and accountability from financial institutions are welcome as well as further clarifications on the domestic and foreign politically exposed and influential persons. 

COSATU and SACTWU welcome the additional amendments made to the Bill by Parliament to address our concerns that the Bill did not go far enough to require full public transparency of beneficial ownership of companies and trusts.

If the progressive objectives of the Bill are to be achieved then it is critical its provisions are enhanced through its Regulations and implementation, in particular to ensure that companies are required to disclose ownership and shareholding, and that such information be publicly and easily accessible through the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, the Masters of the High Courts’ Offices and other relevant registries and platforms.  If we are to overcome corruption and state capture, then we must be build a society founded upon transparency, more so when it involves workers’ pension fund investments, wages and jobs.  Government needs to ensure that when it comes into effect that the relevant state organs are adequately resourced, trained and capacitated to effect its full implementation. 

Issued by COSATU For further comment please contact:
Matthew Parks-COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator
082 7850 687