Pretoria – The National Credit Regulator has warned community members to avoid entering into credit agreements which contain unlawful provisions like handing over personal property like identity documents and South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) cards or bank cards.
“Consumers must also be careful about credit agreements containing unlawful provisions. A provision of a credit agreement is unlawful if, for example, it expresses an agreement by the consumer to hand over to a credit provider their identity document, credit or debit card, bank account, or automatic teller machine access card, or any similar identifying document, i.e. Sassa card or device or provide a personal identifying code or number to be used to access the account,” NCR spokesperson Didi Sebothoma told IOL.
“This provision is not only a breach of the National Credit Act, but it is also a criminal offence and should be reported to the South African Police Service.”
Sebothoma said the practice of handing over one’s property as security for the repayment of a loan is illegal.
“Even if a credit agreement does not contain such a provision, but the credit provider requests consumers to hand over their consumer instruments as security for the repayment of the loan, the person or entity is committing prohibited conduct and an offence in terms of the National Credit Act,” said Sebothoma.
“The National Credit Regulator warns consumers to only use credit providers who are registered with the NCR and to report to their local police any credit provider who takes their instruments such as Bank Cards, ID documents, Sassa cards etc., when extending credit to them.”
The National Credit Regulator said it has attempted, through various channels, to proactively warn consumers of the unscrupulous behaviour of credit providers and educate consumers about the breaches of the National Credit Act.
“These channels include workshops, media interviews and/or engagements with various stakeholders in the various jurisdictions such as Sassa, the Hawks or the Consumer Protection Offices,” said Sebothoma.
Last month, the Hazyview Magistrate’s Court found 34-year-old loan shark Nozipho Yolanda Precious Mabuza guilty of contravening Section 133 of the National Credit Act and sentenced her to 12 months imprisonment, with the option of a fine.
At the time, Mpumalanga spokesperson at the Hawks, Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi, said Mabuza’s sentence was suspended for five years.
“Mabuza was sentenced to a R5 000 fine or 12 months imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on condition she is not found guilty on similar charges in the future,” said Sekgotodi.
“She was arrested during a search and seizure operation on November 4, 2021, in Hazyview Humelela Cash Loans by the Hawks serious commercial crime investigation team based in Nelspruit together with National Credit Regulator (officials).”
Sekgotodi said when Mabuza was arrested, authorities seized more than 500 bank cards, R36 730 in cash, and SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) cards and IDs of clients were in her possession.
Last year, four alleged loan sharks were closed for running illegal money lending businesses in Coligny in North West by the Hawks.