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dreed Feb 17th, 2007 05:20 AM

Exchange controls in South Africa
I worked (as a foreigner) in Cape Town way back in 1992 and had to put 4000 rand in a fixed deposit in a bank as a bond for my work permit. I never took the money out and the bank won't send it to me in UK. Are there still exchange controls? And also, is 4000 rand worth anything any more? (!) Maybe I need to go back and get it...

jasher Feb 17th, 2007 09:32 AM


As far as I know there are no longer any exchange controls in SA. Unfortunately your R4000 is worth only about £300 now, which is less than it would cost to get there...though if you plan on going anyhow it would be a nice addition to your budget.

Assuming your name is on both accounts, it's not clear why the bank in SA wouldn't send the money to you (after all, it's your money...) by wire transfer as long as you pay the wire transfer fees, but sometimes I think banks enjoy making it hard to get to your money...


Selwyn_Davidowitz Feb 17th, 2007 04:11 PM


Believe me exchange controls are still VERY MUCH part of the South African scene. The only difference between when you paid in your deposit and now is that the limits for withdrawal have increased tremendously and these days I dont think you will have to pay for a work permit via a bond payment.

The fact that you may not obtain your money directly from the bank without special permission is NOT a commercial bank issue, it is a SA Reserve bank issue and it all goes back to exchange control. This does not mean that you cant obtain your money; on the contrary you certainly can and quite easily at that BUT the bank where you placed your deposit will make you jump through a number of bureacratic hoops (lots of documentation) to eventually attain this.

By the way in the mid 80's as a South African if you ever went overseas you had a limit of about R6000 that you could take out of the country annually
while today you are still limited but the figure is I think R1.5 million. What I am trying to say is that exchange control still exists but it does not effect the average man on the street that much. This coming week our minister of economic affairs delivers his annual budget speech and there is talk about the fact that he just might (very small chance) drop exchange controls. Needless to say if he does so then dreed you will find yourself about 300 quid richer overnight with no bureacratic hoops to jump through. :)

Hope this helps.

Very proudly part of the wonderful ((R))nation of South Africa

jasher Feb 18th, 2007 07:47 AM

Hi Selwyn,

I have to admit I'm a bit confused -- as an international traveller, I've never encountered any restrictions on the amount of money I bring into or take out of SA (though obviously I'm not bringing in or taking out R1.5 million, I have brought in quite a bit of money on some of my trips). Are things different if you're South African, or if the money is in rand as opposed to some other currency?


Selwyn_Davidowitz Feb 18th, 2007 09:56 AM


Forex rulings only affect South Africans and not foreign visitors to our shores UNLESS they work in SA. In Dreeds case he obtained a work permit which meant that he earned money in SA. I am sure that he never earned enough to be able to be affected by Forex rulings however if he earned more than the "allowable rate" he would have been subjected to these rulings and this function still would be the case today.
So as an example in todays times if you earn R2milion/year and wanted to leave SA with all your earnings you would only be able to leave with R1.5 million (that is if this is the allowable rate) What I have been told is that one can make application to have the extra moneys condoned as being allowable to be taken out of the country and that most applications are viewed favourably as long as the money was earned legitimately.

With regard to Dreeds deposit this will obviously not be effected and he will just have to jump through some small bureaucratic hoops to obtain his monies. His bank should be able to advise him as to what to do.

Hope this is'nt to confusing. :)

Very proudly part of the wonderful ((R))nation of South Africa

jasher Feb 19th, 2007 01:17 PM

Hi Selwyn,

Thanks for the clarification...I was beginning to wonder if I'd inadvertently smuggled some illegal currency into SA on my past trips!


dreed Apr 1st, 2007 08:50 AM

Thanks a lot for all the info and advice. I guess I'll write the money off though I think it was originally worth about £1000. In a fixed deposit over 15 years it should by rights be worth about £10,000 not £300!

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