COSATU statement on South Africa’s greylisting by Financial Action Task Force

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) notes with extreme disappointment South Africa’s greylisting by Financial Action Task Force (FATF).  This is another unnecessary and entirely self-inflected blow to an already struggling economy. 

South Africa’s greylisting is not helpful and will create unnecessary obstacles for foreign and domestic investors. The country risks losing investment and workers’ retirement savings investments will also be highly affected. This is at a time when the economy is desperate for every single financial resource.  This economy needs investment and is already suffocating from bad policy choices and overall mismanagement.

The South African economy is saddled with load-shedding, cable theft, ruined railway lines, corruption, aging infrastructure, battered public services, and a staggering 43% unemployment rate.  Workers bore the brunt of this explosion in corruption, state capture, money laundering, and illicit financial outflows. 

The Federation welcomed the efforts of the government and Parliament to pass the General Laws Amendment Act into law and the progress, as acknowledged by the FATF, to address many of the 67 areas of concern.  The Federation is pleased that the concerns it raised on the full scope of business ownership, e.g., the real and full ownerships of companies and shares, were inserted into the GLA Act by Parliament. 

The country is fast becoming a haven for questionable characters with unexplained wealth and drastic measures are needed to dry up the swamp in which they are feeding and breeding.

The South African government needs to abandon this self-flagellation and self-sabotage. The source of these embarrassing blunders and lapses of common sense is that the elite of his country is contemptuous of the rule of law, and the nation’s watchdogs have rubber teeth. Police are nothing but a reactive fire brigade force.

What is key now, is not only to ensure that South Africa is removed from greylisting but that all law enforcement institutions are empowered and supported to aggressively tackle crime, corruption, and money laundering.  These need to include empowering and resourcing law enforcement institutions. We want SARS to conduct exhaustive lifestyle audits of politicians; senior state managers and high-net individuals. The SAPS needs to improve its preparation and engage in ongoing training if it is to become an effective law enforcement institution. The NPA has a poor record of prosecuting corruption and money laundering, this needs to be addressed, immediately.

The FATF has reaffirmed COSATU’s long-standing call that the lackadaisical approach to dealing with criminals, especially of white-collar variety,  is suicidal for the country. This country is sinking under the weight of corruption and mismanagement.

We will only turn the corner, as a nation, if we are willing to tighten our laws, maximize mandatory sentences and give our law enforcement institutions the resources they need to surgically remove all criminal elements from society.  The Federation hopes that this latest setback will jolt the government into action.  The business-as-usual approach is not enough, any longer.

Issued by COSATU   

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794