Court hearing into R699 scheme

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Johannesburg - An urgent hearing into the R699 car sales scheme has been set for next week in the Eastern Cape High Court, the Business Times reported on Sunday.

The hearing - scheduled for Tuesday - opens up the possibility that class action could be taken against the banks that supported the scheme launched in 2008 by Andre Venter, the chief executive of the Satinsky Group.

A group of apparently 550 consumers - led by Port Elizabeth lawyer Duncan Heuer of Pieterse Cary Finlaison - are to ask the court to declare contracts between the banks and car buyers null and void.

The respondents in court papers are listed as the Satinsky Group; along with Standard Bank, Absa, and Nedbank's Motor Finance Corporation.

FirstRand's Wesbank is also listed - but it is most likely they will appear only as a witness; since they rejected participation in the scheme in 2011.

“We do not know what exactly the relationship was between the banks and Satinsky,” said Heuer.

About 17,000 people are believed to have been affected by the scheme which offered to cut repayments on new cars to about R699, if the motorists drove a minimum distance with pasted advertisements about the scheme on their cars.

The scheme collapsed earlier this month - with banks now calling for full repayments - amounts not affordable for all those involved.

Heuer told the newspaper that he believed the R699 scheme resembled a Ponzi model.

Venter has apparently opened up another company that offers unusual motor financing structures. - Sapa

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