Johannesburg - In November the National Credit Regulator (NCR) conducted an onsite operation in the Eastern Cape Province in a bid to combat the abuse of consumers by lenders and ensure compliance with the National Credit Act (NCA).
The investigation focused on credit providers operating in and around the East London, Stutterheim and King Williams Town areas. A total of 27 credit providers were investigated and during the operation, 14 people were arrested after being found in possession of 467 bank cards, 698 Sassa Cards and 78 identity documents.
In another separate investigation, the NCR conducted an onsite investigation at the premises of Siyasizana Cash Loans, a credit provider operating in Nelspruit, after a consumer complained to the NCR that this credit provider was retaining consumers' bank cards and ID books.
A total of 110 identity documents, 68 bank cards, 2 110 Sassa cards and 5 cellular phones were found at the premises of this credit provider and a criminal case has been opened against the owner of the business.
"The focus of this kind of operation is primarily on credit providers who are unlawfully garnishing, retaining pension cards, bank cards, identity documents and personal identity numbers (PIN) of their clients as surety," said NomsaMotshegare, CEO of the NCR.
"This is a contravention of the NCA and it is a criminal offence."
Motshegare stated that this is part of the NCR's ongoing strategy to root out predatory lending practices and to ensure that all credit providers, no matter where they conduct business, comply with the provisions of the NCA.
"The exploitation of vulnerable and unsuspecting consumers by credit providers will not be tolerated," she added.
"This operation was definitely not the last of its kind. Such operations are conducted nationally in different parts of the country. Credit providers should be warned that the NCR will not condone any contraventions by credit providers."