Editorial: What is the real objection to Fica bill?

2016-09-25 06:46

The Black Business Council and the Progressive Professional Forum are apparently the main reasons President Jacob Zuma has not signed into law the Fica Amendment Bill.

The draft legislation will require a senior bank official to approve the accounts of prominent influential persons and oblige banks to establish the source of funds, as well as monitor these accounts regularly.

The bill is intended to prevent money laundering as well as the illicit flow of money out of the country.

Zuma said he had received objections to the bill and had to consider the merits of such to assess whether there were valid constitutional issues.

But these concerns, which the president is taking his own time to consider, appear spurious and mysterious.

The main objection is to a specific group of people being singled out to have their accounts monitored. If there is nothing illegal happening in those accounts, what is the problem?

The other objection is that the provision in the bill pre-authorises violation of the rule of law by transferring judicial authority from law enforcement agencies and the independent judiciary into the hands of banking and financial institutions.

But the banks only have a duty to report suspicious transactions and to satisfy themselves before authorising such transactions.

The outcry about superpowers for the banks is overstated, as they will continue to do what they are doing already, except pay more attention to a defined group of individuals.

We are either committed to the fight against corruption or not.

South Africa has signed up to UN Conventions against Corruption, which means we are obligated by law to ensure that requisite legal frameworks are in place and that requisite institutions are established.

December 8 2019