In recent times it has come to the attention of the public that a bank can terminate a bank-client relationship unilateraly based on reasons or no-reasons at all. The public’s attention was drawn to this by the controversial closure of the Oakbay’s accounts by the prominent banks in South Africa. This was not the first time that such a closure of bank accounts occured in South Africa and the locus classicus in this regard is Bredenkamp v Standard Bank. In this matter the Supreme Court of Appeal was bestowed the task to determine the constitutionality of the cancelation clause found in a standard form contract that allowed a bank to terminate its relationship with a client. In order to determine the constitutionality of the clause the court applied the constitutionality test as set out in Barkhuizen v Napier, whereafter it was found that the cancelation was just.
This dissertation will therefore investigate whether a bank can unilaterally decide to proceed with the termination of the bank-client relationship. It will be argued that a bank may proceed to do so, but a further investigation is required to determine the reasons why the bank might proceed to terminate a bank-client relationship unilaterlly and the rationale thereof. Consideration will be given to the enactment of the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Act, the development of the common law under the Constitution, and international best practice that have been developed to combat the financing of terrorism and money laundering. The latter may impose a duty on a bank under certain circumstances to terminate the bank-client relationship unilaterly.
Mini Dissertation (LLM)--University of Pretoria, 2019.