Who Owns Whom

The table below shows the growth of the Who Owns Whom database in the 16 months to January 2023. The greatest benefit of this growth is enjoyed by those clients using our FICA compliance solution, WOW Data Feeds, for KYC and client onboarding processes. We currently research ownership, which is a crucial component of KYC, directly with the subject companies. This will change when the Companies Amendment Bill, which will be tabled for public comment this year, is gazetted. The Bill will require private companies to disclose beneficial ownership with CIPC which will be available to the public, as is currently the case with directors.

WOW and Amabhungane made a joint submission proposing this change to the Act, which I presented to the Standing Committee on Company Law in November 2016, and our initiative was joined by the Helen Suzman Foundation and Corruption Watch in the following year. Many affected parties have promoted the legislative change since then in order to avoid a grey listing by the global Financial Action Task Force, and South Africa is fortunate to have the able acting Treasury director-general, Ismail Momoniat, presenting our case to avoid a grey listing.

 South AfricaAfricaInternationalTotalGrowth %
Registered Entities17 5054 62998823 1226.03%
Total Number of Branches59 33317 6731 21878 2247.77%
 South AfricaAfricaInternationalTotalGrowth %
Directorships55 82920 5789 77786 1849.83%
Management Positions17 5019 2314 80331 53510.69%
GROUPS**WOW definition of a Group
 TotalGrowth %
African Listed Groups1 048-13.10%– Companies that have 10 or more direct subsidiaries with a 20% or more holding %;
– Companies that have a direct holding of 50% or more in a “Group” company;
– All African listed companies.
African Non-Listed Groups6707.89%
Foreign Listed and Unlisted Groups2 6047.34%
State Owned Corporation Groups4865.52%
 TotalGrowth %
International Entities168 4832.59%
South African Entities24 7904.64%
African Entities15 2273.09%

WOWEB subscribers executed 470,837 enquiries on the platform during 2022, with the table below showing the most viewed industries:

RankIndustry NameCountry
1The Pharmaceutical Industry in South Africa  (South Africa)
2The Clothing Industry in South Africa  (South Africa)
3The Telecommunications Industry and Retail of Devices in South Africa  (South Africa)
4The Wholesale and Retail of Food  (South Africa)
5South African Mining Industry Trends Report  (South Africa)
6The Banking Industry in South Africa, including Stokvels  (South Africa)
7The Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Industry in South Africa  (South Africa)
8Freight Transport by Road in South Africa  (South Africa)
9Trends In South African FMCG Markets  (South Africa)
10Trends in the South African Construction Industry  (South Africa)

The recently updated Trends in FMCG report shows that at R65.3bn, edible fruit and nuts were by far South Africa’s biggest FMCG export in 2021, more than three times bigger than beverages exports of R20.6bn, cereals (R14.8bn), animal or vegetable fats and oils (R10.7bn) and preparations of vegetables, fruit and nuts (R10.7bn).

Surveys mentioned in the report show an overwhelming demand by consumers for FMCG manufacturers to act to combat negative environmental impacts in manufacturing and packaging and to adopt sustainable labour practices.

Another report published this month is Cargo Handling Storage and Warehousing, which highlights how exporters are increasingly using Maputo over South African ports due to inefficiencies at the latter, and both Maputo and Walvis Bay are expanding facilities to meet this demand. If the service decline at South African ports is not reversed soon, our neighbours will be eating our lunch.

Recently published reports can be viewed on the WOW store.

Have a healthy and prosperous 2023!

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