President Jacob Zuma has referred the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (Fica) Bill back to Parliament after a five-month delay, saying its provision for searches without a warrant is unconstitutional. His referral on Tuesday came within a whisker of a court deadline for his submission of a replying affidavit in the application by the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution to force him to decide one way or another on the bill. The referral also comes about 10 days before Parliament rises for a two-month recess. The amendments are necessary for SA to meet its international obligations to the Financial Action Task Force, which combats money laundering and terrorist financing. The delay means SA will not meet the task force’s February deadline to introduce tighter monitoring of financial transactions. SA now risks being put on a watch list.

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