Internationally, governments have agreed to fight organised crime and terrorism by, among others, seizing the proceeds of crime and making money laundering a criminal offence. Since the 1980s many countries have passed laws that demonstrate their commitment to this effort.
South Africa has also adopted money laundering laws to help it comply with its international obligations to fight organised crime and terrorism.
The latest and most comprehensive legislation detailing money laundering controls is the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (Fica), the focus of which is on control requirements.
Fica creates money laundering control obligations for banks and other institutions and professionals, such as estate agents, brokers, attorneys and insurance companies.
Customer identification is a crucial element of any effective money laundering control system. We must implement reasonable measures for us to know who our customers are and to prevent criminals from using false or stolen identities to gain access to our services.
Since 1 July 2003 banks were required to obtain certain information and supporting documents from new customers before accounts could be opened. Furthermore, Fica requires that banks re-identify their existing customers (those taken on before 1 July 2003).
We are committed to ensuring that our Fica re-identification or process is done in a responsible manner.
We have set up an infrastructure aimed at contacting our customers and encouraging you to come into our branches to verify your details. Should you have not yet have been contacted by our staff, however, we recommend you that you visit your nearest branch at your earliest convenience with the appropriate documents.
What you need to do
You need to supply us with documents that allow us to verify your identity. The information and documents required vary depending on whether you are our customer on a personal individual capacity or part of an entity. These categories are further broken down. Please click on the category for more on what we'd need. We may request additional documents and information besides those listed below depending on the type of account opened.
Citizens of South Africa or foreign nationals with permanent residence
Adult individuals who are citizens of South Africa or foreign nationals who are permanently resident in South Africa must supply us with these documents. If you wish to provide any third party with signing powers on your account or if you are going to provide any third party with a secondary card, these individuals will need to provide a copy of their identity document as well as their contact details.
Acceptable verification documents
You can provide any one of the documents showing your name and residential address. Unless otherwise stipulated, the documents must show your full residential address and not a post box address:
Cohabitant or spouse of a homeowner
It may be that you live with another person, such as a spouse or life partner, and your name is not reflected on any of the documents required. Proof of the relationship between you and that person must be provided together with a relevant verification document reflecting the homeowner's name and the residential address.
In the case of a husband and wife, a marriage certificate is an acceptable document to prove the relationship between the co-habitants.
In all other cases, written confirmation is required from the homeowner confirming:
Q: I don't have a document reflecting my residential address. What now?
A: A utility bill (such as that which you get for water and lights) should show your property's stand/erf number. We are able to accept this as long as your name is on it.
If you are living with the person who owns or rents the home, they should confirm to us in writing the relationship between the two of you, the address and their date of birth and identity number. This must be accompanied by an acceptable document showing their name and residential address. Here is a template for the letter.
A married couple need only present their marriage certificate.
Q: I have several accounts at Standard Bank. Do I need to go through this process for every account?
A: No. As long as your accounts are all held within Standard Bank, then you only need to go through this process once. Stanlib accounts are unfortunately not included in this process.
Q: By when does the bank need to verify my identity?
A: There are various categories of customers need to be re-identified within different timelines. However, the bulk has a deadline of September 2005.
Q: What happens if I do not bring in the necessary documents?
A: FICA requires us to restrict the transactions on your account.
Q: I don't have a Telkom account. Is my cellphone account acceptable instead?