Australian companies are advised to spend time investigating the market, obtain professional advice where appropriate and thoroughly investigate the issues in entering the market and before establishing business relationships.
Australian firms wishing to operate in this market should commit to the highest level of corporate behaviour and familiarise themselves with Australia's laws and penalties pertaining to bribery of foreign officials.
Bribery of foreign public officials is a crime. Australian individuals and companies can be prosecuted in Australia for bribing foreign officials when overseas. Further information on the regulations governing bribery of foreign public officials is available.
For further information on frauds, scams, personal and asset security, intellectual property protection and other business risks please read more about legal issues.
The major business and operational risk for Australian business is safety and security and the necessary steps should be taken to ensure the safety of personnel and property, usually through the services of private security companies.
Other risks include cost and management of human resources and labour and an education system that is seen to be below standard.
The formal South African labour sector is well organised and Australian companies should familiarise themselves with unions and the representatives. There are clear rules and guidelines with regard to handling labour issues, disputes and strikes.
To combat the long standing claims of corruption in South Africa the government set-up the National Anti-Corruption Forum and established the Office of the Public Protector, who has a mandate to investigate, report and make recommendations to the Justice Department. There is also an organisation called Corruption Watch that mobilises the public to report anonymously on corruption. Visitors to South Africa should obey all local laws and refuse any requests for on the spot payment of fines.
Although there is a degree of stereotyping, crime is a reality in South Africa. Personal security and safety is a significant concern for many people and results in a situation that hinders the integration of the races that the government seeks.