Police swooped on several loan sharks, who were illegally keeping consumers’ SASSA cards, bank cards, and identity documents, and recovered them head of elections so that people will be able to vote.
The National Credit Regulator working together with the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation Unit in Mahikeng and visible policing conducted the operation to curb the illegal money lending schemes in Coligny.
Four credit lender properties identified
Hawks spokesperson, Colonel Katlego Mogale, said the team had identified four properties where the businesses had been operating and police had pounced on them and seized their supposed clients’ identity documents, SASSA cards and bank cards.
“Four people aged between 43 and 51 were charged in terms of the National Credit Act. Their businesses were closed down and they each paid R5000 admission of guilt fine. They were also taught about ways of conducting legitimate moneylending business by registering with the NCR,” Mogale said.
The National Credit Regulator (NCR) said that it had embarked on joint operations with the police and the Hawks in numerous provinces during the month of October 2021.
The aim of the operations was to ensure that consumers received their identity documents from credit providers in time for the elections, Anne-Carien du Plooy, NCR Acting Manager: Investigations and Enforcement said.
She said The NCR team had been involved in seven raids conducted in Coligny in North West and in Hammanskraal in Gauteng, which had resulted in four criminal cases being opened.
Consumers’ identity documents and bank cards seized
“During the raids, 1047 prohibited instruments were seized. As we head towards elections, all credit providers are instructed to desist from retaining consumers’ cards and identity documents and should return them to their rightful owners,” she said.
“In addition, consumers must avoid credit providers who require them to hand over their identity documents or cards before they get credit,” she said.
In terms of the National Credit Act (NCA), it is illegal and also a criminal offence for credit providers to retain consumers’ identity documents, bank and SASSA cards as a way to enforce credit agreements, du Plooy added.