Beneficial ownership transparency and data protection in South Africa

  • Publication date: 31 December 2022
  • Author: Amanda Manyame

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Publication type


Country focus
Republic of South Africa

Implementation, Research

Open Ownership Principles
Coverage, Central register


Beneficial ownership transparency is one of the measures used internationally to combat financial crimes and the misuse of corporate entities. Making more beneficial ownership information available to those who can use it effectively helps solve issues around corporate accountability and illicit financial flows.

Through desktop research and analysis of existing literature, this policy briefing interrogates whether beneficial ownership transparency accommodates protection of personal information in South Africa.

Key points

  • BOT serves a legitimate purpose and is not overtly in contravention of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).
  • This is because disclosure of BO information is a necessary measure in combating financial crimes and the misuse of corporate entities, and is thus in the public interest,
  • However, as lawmakers and regulators in South Africa develop the necessary legal and regulatory frameworks to meet specific policy aims, including complying with FATF’s Recommendations on beneficial ownership disclosure, it is critical to ensure that the provisions and purposes of POPIA are not contravened.
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