The 2025 Target: South Africa’s Journey to Erase its Grey List Status

The National Treasury of South Africa has projected that the earliest the country could be removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) ‘grey list’ is June 2025. This anticipated date is a delay from the initial February 2025 target held by some government officials.

South Africa was placed on the FATF’s grey list at the beginning of 2023, which includes countries that have deficiencies in adhering to international standards against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Recently, the FATF reported that South Africa has completed only five of the required 22 action items necessary for removal from the list. The Treasury indicated that even if the country resolves all 22 items by February of the following year, the FATF would still need to conduct an on-site visit to verify compliance. This visit is tentatively scheduled for April or May 2025, with the FATF’s plenary meeting in June 2025 being the earliest opportunity for a vote on South Africa’s removal from the list.

The National Treasury acknowledges the formidable challenge of addressing the remaining 17 action items by the February 2025 deadline. It emphasizes the need for continued and significant improvements across all relevant agencies and authorities.

A critical hurdle for South Africa is to demonstrate a consistent increase in the investigation and prosecution of complex money laundering cases. The FATF has set a deadline of January 2025 for South Africa to show progress in dismantling professional money laundering networks, a task that has proven difficult for the authorities thus far.