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Banking Association of SA urges Zuma to urgently sign Fica Bill

The association says the Fica Bill does not give banks any power to carry out searches.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Supplied

PARLIAMENT - The Banking Association of South Africa says the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (Fica) Bill does not give banks any power to carry out searches or act on behalf of the Financial Intelligence Centre.

The association's managing director Cas Coovadia says it should be returned to President Jacob Zuma to be signed into law as a matter of urgency.

He was speaking during heated debate at Parliament on the bill.

The Black Business Council (BBC) and the Progressive Professionals Forum want the entire bill reviewed, but Zuma has raised concerns only about its provision for warrantless searches, which has tied Parliament's hands.

BBC President Danisa Baloyi says the bill will make criminals of black business people, who she says are already having their accounts closed without reasons given.

“We’re saying radical economic transformation as pronounced by this government will not happen as long as there’re hurdles like this.”

Coovadia hit back, saying the bill does not give banks carte blanche in the treatment of their clients.

He says they’re heavily regulated to ensure compliance with the law and that they are equally subject to the Fica Bill.

Coovadia says President Zuma recognises the importance of the bill in combating corruption.

He says Parliament should send it back to him to sign into law as a matter of urgency.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)