Compliance a business imperative
Local firms and their branch offices will be held accountable in SA for transgressions
IF COMPLIANCE is not a central pivot of your company it should be. Compliance is respect for laws, regulations and ethics and plays a significant role in your company’s business decisions.
SA’s compliance caveats are multidisciplinary — ranging from anticorruption/antibribery to limits on anticompetitive behaviour, consumer and data privacy, trade and customs, environmental, marketing, intellectual property including trade secrets, labour including human capital legal considerations as well as codes of conduct and gift/amenities protocols. Add in regulations relating to anti-dumping to this plethora of compliance pivots and the knowledge curve requirement for lawyers leaps. Compliance requires a sound grasp of in-country and international laws as well as compliance codes and regulations.
For South African and international companies operating in Africa, internationalisation and anticorruption and antibribery compliance is serious. It also means a greater knowledge of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, UK Bribery Act of 2010 and SA’s Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2003, as well as a range of international and regional covenants and various in-country legislation.
Without this grasp, lawyers and compliance and audit officers will find the terrain and issues difficult to identify. Practical ethics, meaning the application of ethics and in-country and international terrain establishment, do not need to clash: companies need to understand what effective referral/ facilitation is, why there are no carveouts in the UK’s bribery act and what exactly is SA’s Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act. Tell your South African operation personnel outside of SA about the latter’s extrajudicial outreach.
To clarify: South African-based companies and their branch offices in Africa (and anywhere outside SA’s borders) engaging in illegal activities and bribery to secure and facilitate transactions and business will be held accountable in SA for such transgressions. SA’s Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act also applies to non-South Africans if they are found in SA. This means that if an action is
Compliance requires a sound grasp of in-country and international laws as well as compliance codes and regulations
deemed to be criminal under the act and it occurs outside SA, a South African court will have jurisdiction even if the act does not constitute an offence in the foreign country.
Effective compliance systems and skilled teams ensure controls and advocacy awareness for company personnel. Secure and confidential whistleblower hotlines also add value to anticorruption and antibribery efforts. Openness to compliance and active conversations mean simply that your company personnel will talk to your legal and compliance personnel. This creates a healthy dialogue and an opportunity to address what compliance is and how it practically affects businesses and its enforcement.
Compliance is on the radar and accountability is on the agenda. Compliance is law.
LONG REACH OF SOUTH AFRICAN COURTS If an action is deemed to be criminal under the act and it occurs outside SA, a South African court will have jurisdiction even if the act does not constitute an offence in the foreign country