Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba Photo: Rogan Ward
Pretoria – There is a risk that Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba may delay implementation of the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (Fica) Bill – one of the most important legislative weapons in the fight against corruption in South Africa – despite it having been signed by President Jacob Zuma, the Democratic Alliance said on Saturday.

The Fica Bill provided for ongoing monitoring of the business relationships, sources of wealth and sources of funds of “domestic prominent influential persons”, and family members and close associates of “domestic prominent influential persons”, in South Africa, DA spokesman David Maynier said.

"What this means is that President Jacob Zuma and his most important clients, the Guptas, are going to feel the heat as their business relationships, sources of wealth, and sources of funds are subjected to ongoing monitoring by financial institutions in South Africa.

"However, the battle is far from over and there could still be significant delays in implementing the legislation because, despite being signed into law... the legislation only actually commences on a date to be determined by the minister and published in the Government Gazette," he said.

Read: Zuma signs Fica Bill into law

The Financial Intelligence Centre had to, for example, still produce an official list of “domestic prominent influential persons” and of family members and known close associates of “domestic prominent influential persons”.

This would be a massive task because the list included, for example, senior executives, as well as family members and close associates of senior executives, of all companies supplying goods and services above a threshold amount, which had to be determined by the minister and published in the Government Gazette.

There were also doubts about whether the Financial Intelligence Centre, which only had a budget of R289 million for 2017/18, would have the resources to effectively implement the Fica amendment bill, he said.

"The minister will no doubt be under political pressure to delay the implementation of the legislation to protect his political master’s most important clients, the Guptas. The minister should, therefore, take decisive action and set out clear time frames and budgets for the implementation of the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill.

"Whatever the case, we will have to very carefully monitor the implementation of the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill," Maynier said.

Earlier on Saturday, the presidency said Zuma had signed the Fica Bill into law.