Regional and international developments

South Africa is part of a global network that aims to prevent money laundering and combat terrorism, which includes the FATF, the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. Together with several other government departments and agencies, the FIC is an active participant in these organisations and we draw on the vast experience of those involved. South Africa also contributes to the pool of knowledge and seeks to influence the development of the international policy environment.

Terrorism and the funding of foreign terror fighters took centre stage globally during the reporting period. The proliferation of terrorist attacks poses a serious threat to international security and development. The FIC supports efforts to counter terrorist financing by working with its international partners and sharing financial intelligence products domestically and internationally.

During 2015/16, the FIC participated in the Egmont Group’s global typologies exercise on foreign terrorist fighters, along with the financial intelligence units (FIUs) of 37 other countries, to share experiences and perspectives regarding the financing of terrorism. In light of the increasing number of terror threats, the Egmont Group is emphasising the importance of operational co-ordination between member FIUs.

In August 2015, the FIC hosted the first meeting of African heads of FIUs. This meeting was part of attempts in the ESAAMLG region to develop a regional-based framework for FIUs, enabling members to share experiences and increase effectiveness in their respective jurisdictions.

This year was South Africa’s turn to serve as chair of the ESAAMLG. Leadership is rotated by country every year.

The FIC provided technical assistance in response to requests from Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana. We are also sponsoring nine fellow ESAAMLG countries (Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) to become full members of the Egmont group.

During 2015/16, the FIC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Uganda and, beyond the sub-Saharan region, with 10 other FIUs, including China, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iran and the Netherlands.

Domestic partnerships
During 2015/16, we continued to integrate our financial intelligence products into the work of broader government through participation in several inter-departmental structures and relationships, including the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee, the National Joint Operational Intelligence Structure, the Anti-Corruption Task Team and the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster. 

Our participation in the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee and its working groups means that financial intelligence is integrated into several strategic projects in which national security issues are considered.

The FIC has to be capable and agile in its development of financial intelligence in response to the constantly evolving nature of the illicit economy, and shifting national crime and security priorities. We developed an improved understanding of the illicit economy and its associated financial flows in a project that has helped to greatly enhance the quality of our products.

We remain alert to advances in technology and how these can be distorted and abused for criminal intent. Cybercrime is a major concern, particularly given the impact it could have on financial institutions in South Africa. To this end, the country is taking a multi-disciplinary approach to dealing with cybercrime. The FIC is part of the state’s response to this threat. 

Jurisdictions with MoUs with the FIC