Banking Regulation & Supervision


South Africa's banking sector is mainly governed by the Banks Act, No. 94 of 1990 (Banks Act), while the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and the Registrar of Banks are responsible for the majority of the regulatory activities in the banking landscape.

The primary objective ​of the SARB is to protect the value of the South African currency in the interests of balance and sustainable economic growth. The legislation pertaining to the banking sector aims to create credibility, stability and economic growth within the country. It also creates the legal framework for the regulation and supervision of the business of accepting deposits from the South African public.

The Banks Act governs the establishment of banks, the security of depositors' investments, and the protection of banks' integrity. It also regulates the functioning of foreign banking institutions in South Africa.

On a global front, the regulatory measures developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, Basel I and Basel II, were insufficient to address certain risks as was evidenced from lessons learnt in the wake of the global economic crisis of 2008.

In response to this global economic crisis, and due to the continuous refinement that Basel I and Basel II have been subjected to, a comprehensive set of reform measures was developed in Basel III. The South African banking industry is currently implementing the Basel III framework using a phased-in approach, which will be an ongoing process until its planned completion in 2019.

“The legislation pertaining to the banking sector aims to create credibility, stability and economic growth within the country.”

For a comprehensive document outlining the implications of this area of law in South Africa
click here.​​​​

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