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The Treasury has weighed into the transformation debate, releasing research in Parliament which shows that foreigners and South African institutions own more than 80% of JSE-listed South African companies. It questions whether the black empowerment ownership rules in the government’s codes and charters are realistic or genuinely transformational. The study, presented in Parliament on Wednesday, found that only 14% of the shares in South African companies listed on the JSE were directly owned by corporates, trusts or individuals. Foreign investors owned 38% while domestic retirement funds owned 24% and other South African-based institutional investors and investment managers owned a further 24%. The Treasury commissioned the study by an independent London-based economist after it had undertaken in the February budget review to publish an ownership monitor yearly to assess progress measured against ownership targets, as part of its work on transformation in the financial sector. The f...

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