On Friday, 01 June 2018, the National Credit Regulator (NCR) joined forces with the South African Police Service (SAPS) in an operation aimed at curbing illegal retention of consumer instruments including identity books, bank cards and SASSA cards, to enforce credit agreements.
The operation was conducted at different entities that conduct businesses in Grahamstown, Somerset East, Fort Beaufort and Humansdorp. During the operation, six hundred and eighty six (686) SASSA and bank cards as well as twelve (12) identity books were seized and four (4) criminal cases were opened.
The focus of this kind of operation is primarily to identify credit providers who are unlawfully retaining pension cards, bank cards, identity documents and personal identity numbers (PIN) of their clients as surety. “Retaining these cards is a contravention of the National Credit Act (NCA) and it is a criminal offence,” said Jacqueline Peters Manager of the Investigations and Enforcements Department at the National Credit Regulator.
She stated that this operation 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,” added Peters.
“Consumers are cautioned to avoid credit providers who require them to hand over their identity books or cards as it is a criminal offence and it is usually coupled with reckless lending and overcharging,” concluded Peters.