South Africa’s commitment to beneficial ownership welcomed at OGP regional meeting

Issued by Corruption Watch



As part of this week’s meeting of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Cape Town, South Africa today launched its third National Action Plan (NAP) which includes a high-level commitment to creating a public register of beneficial ownership information.

Corruption Watch, as a participant in Transparency International’s (TI) Unmask the Corrupt campaign, has been calling on the South African government to implement the G20 High-level Principles on Beneficial Ownership, which the government has failed to honour up until this point. Brazil and South Africa were featured in TI’s report on beneficial ownership released at last year’s G20 meeting in Turkey. The two countries were lagging the most in addressing basic aspects of transparency in business practices, including providing critical information about the real owners of companies, which would make it more difficult for the corrupt to hide or move money across borders.

The move towards making this information public is welcomed by civil society organisations that have long been pressing for not only the creation of a register of beneficial ownership but also for this to be publicly accessible.

“However,” says David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch, “a major point of concern is the lack of provision for civil society cooperation in the plan. This is contrary to the principles and ethos of the OGP, which seek to ensure genuine dialogue and collaboration between governments and civil society.

“Although the NAP also emphasises compliance with the G20 principles,” Lewis continued, “we believe that the implementation of this commitment should go further by including the creation of a public register, not specified in the current plan, as we see this as an essential part of fighting corruption and illicit financial flows.”

Corruption Watch will continue to actively engage with government on the issue of beneficial ownership, which includes monitoring the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (FICA) bill and on-going interaction with the National Treasury. South Africa’s participation in the OGP provides a unique opportunity to ensure that critical matters such as this, which have a major impact on the fight against corruption, are being addressed by all stakeholders from government and civil society.

Civil society organisations have written an open letter to South Africa's special envoy to the Open Government Partnership, expressing their deep dismay at government’s inadequate efforts to implement and co-ordinate OGP policies in the country.


For any press enquiries please contact

David Lewis – +27 82 576 3748
Moira Campbell – +27 83 995 4711

Latest

Support Transparency International

No hay cambios en las percepciones pese a los avances en América

En los últimos años, América Latina y el Caribe lograron adelantos significativos en la lucha contra la corrupción. En muchos países de la región existen ahora leyes y mecanismos para contrarrestar este fenómeno, las investigaciones legales están avanzando y los movimientos ciudadanos anticorrupción han incrementado. Sin embargo, de acuerdo con el Índice de Percepción de la Corrupción (IPC) 2017, la región continúa con bajos puntajes.

A redefining moment for Africa

The newly released Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) provides a good baseline for the African Union (AU) anti-corruption efforts in 2018. This year’s theme for the AU is “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.” As the AU rolls out its plan, this is an important moment for Africa to take stock of the current situation.

Perceptions remain unchanged despite progress in the Americas

In the last few years, Latin America and the Carribbean made great strides in the fight against corruption. Laws and mechanisms exist to curb corruption, while legal investigations are advancing and citizen anti-corruption movements are growing in many countries across the region. However, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2017, the region continues to score poorly for corruption. How can we explain this contradiction?

Slow, Imperfect Progress across Asia Pacific

While no country in the Asia Pacific region scores a perfect 100, not even New Zealand or Singapore, which both experienced their share of scandals in the last year, our analysis reveals little progress across the region.

Europe and Central Asia: more civil engagement needed

In 2017, authoritarianism rose across Eastern and South East Europe, hindering anti-corruption efforts and threatening civil liberties. Across the region, civil society organisations and independent media experienced challenges in their ability to monitor and criticise decision-makers

Rampant Corruption in Arab States

In a region stricken by violent conflicts and dictatorships, corruption remains endemic in the Arab states while assaults on freedom of expression, press freedoms and civil society continue to escalate.

Digging deeper into corruption, violence against journalists and active civil society

To mark the release of the Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, we analysed corruption levels around the world and looked at how they relate to civil liberties – specifically, the ability of citizens to speak out in defence of their interests and the wider public good.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world