Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini. Photo: Siyabulela Duda.

Cape Town - Amendments to regulations on social assistance is on the cards to crack down on loan sharks, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said on Wednesday.

Delivering her budget vote in Parliament, the minister said she had been inundated by complaints from social grant beneficiaries on loan sharks preying on them near pay points.

“These lending businesses are for the most part illegal, predatory, immoral and exploitative in nature,” Dlamini said.

“I have established a ministerial task team comprising representatives form Black Sash, social development and Sassa (SA Social Security Agency) to investigate this matter and to make recommendations on a possible course of action with the current payment environment.”

Moves were afoot to protect Sassa's intellectual property rights as the agency's brand was being exploited.

“We will also criminalise possession of Sassa-branded cards by credit providers and loan sharks,” said Dlamini.

“Work is underway to provide amendments to the social assistance regulations to prohibit credit providers and other persons from conducting and marketing their products within defined perimeters of Sassa offices and pay points.”

The amendments would include the introduction of penalties for those found guilty of contraventions. - Sapa