South Africa on the FATF Grey List

Rohan Büchner

Rohan Büchner / April 06, 2023


I don't normally complain about SA on social media / online, but I will make an exception this time...


My wife and I, after many hours, deep discussions, and tears, like a lot of other South African-born people, made the decision to sell our home and leave our home country. Not because of the allure of making it big overseas... but because we just wanted to address and plan for what we consider basic human needs for a modern family.
* Be safe in our home
* The ability to plan for our future (in a system that is reliable)
* Do not feel like we have to constantly just "take it", some political narratives in SA are extremely toxic, and are just creating a massive divide in the country, and you're expected to just bite your tongue

About us:

I would say we are good citizens. We pay our taxes on time, we are not criminals, we help our neighbors, and hell... we even adhere to our buildings noise rules to the T, much better than the locals 😂 We even behaved the same in South Africa, even though we knew our hard earned money was somehow likely being siphoned off somewhere up the food chain... but we play by the rules of the government.


Europe has a retirement structure/methodology called the `3 Pillar System` I won't dive too deep into that.

2 weeks ago after our move from South Africa to Switzerland, we were finally in the financial position to start one of these additional pillars, to plan for retirement. Since our ZAR retirement savings are pretty much worthless against the exchange rate, we are starting from scratch, so this is something that we believe is really critical for any finance-savvy person to do.

We spoke to a really lovely advisor at one of the financial institutions, and she and her colleague outlined a good, albeit aggressive savings plan for us... it would have meant not too much "fun" money to go around, but at least we would be investing in our future, so as not to rely on any external assistance when we are older... e.g: We want to be able to support ourselves.

The Kicker:

We cannot even open a retirement account since South Africa is on the FATF Grey List/we are seen as too risky for money laundering/fraud. The most bitter pill is, it seems that South Africa was added to the list 1 month before the time of writing this article. (Could have would have should have 😖) The corruption in SA has far-reaching effects. We weren't a supporter of it then, and neither are we now.

At this moment I kind of feel like the scum of the earth, even though my I (and my wife) are literally the polar opposites of these terrible people who steal the futures of so many people.


Since these criminals will probably never pay for their crimes, I hope that tonight they get some really bad heartburn after they scoff down their fine dining in their billion $ houses.