• June 19, 2024

Coordinate Fight Against Illicit Trade

 Coordinate Fight Against Illicit Trade
Image: Tobacco Reporter archive

South Africa needs to enhance its coordination and enforcement efforts in combating illicit trade, which has been increasing in the country, according to the report Organised Crime, Corruption and Illicit Trade, reports The Sunday Times.

Esteban Giudici, a policy adviser at the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (Tracit), emphasized that South Africa lacks effective implementation of laws and resources to address illicit trade. The problem is not treated as a comprehensive criminal phenomenon affecting all sectors, which allows criminals to exploit opportunities. The report identifies several sectors, including alcohol, illegal mining, counterfeit goods, falsified medicine, fuel, wildlife trafficking and tobacco, as particularly vulnerable to illicit trade. Giudici stressed the importance of improving coordination, as criminal networks involved in illicit trade operate across multiple countries.

Tracit conducts research on illicit trade and transnational crimes and supports companies and governments in their efforts to combat these crimes. South Africa’s recent gray-listing by the Financial Action Task Force is expected to hinder the government’s post-Covid-19 recovery efforts and investment attraction. Effectiveness in implementing existing laws to combat money laundering, which is closely linked to illicit trade, is crucial. The report recommends that the South African government strengthen coordination, criminal penalties and law enforcement to address the issue effectively. The gray-listing could lead to a contraction of up to 7.6 percent in the country’s GDP, according to estimates by the International Monetary Fund.