by Andrew Louw – DA Northern Cape Provincial Leader
Error! Filename not specified.
Date: 27 June 2018
The DA is calling on the Hawks to investigate the growing number of loan sharks in the Northern Cape, who are holding on to SASSA grant payment cards in order to “control” the loan repayments of social grant beneficiaries.
The DA is aware of at least 19 loan sharks operating in the Marydale area, who are exchanging overpriced bags of chicken and alcohol in exchange for grant cards and their pin numbers. Chicken is ridiculously priced at R150 a bag, while cheap wine goes for between R250 and R600.
Pensioners and disabled people are the easiest targets for these vultures, who lure beneficiaries into taking out “loans”, on their terms and conditions, for which they charge exorbitant interest rates.
Based on a community assessment of the situation, it appears that as many as 80% of grant dependent households in the area have become indebted to these loan sharks.
The loan sharks visit the ATMs once a month with bags full of cards, and make withdrawals for their own personal use. Grant beneficiaries in turn get caught up in a web of unjustifiable debt and become dependent on the loan sharks for their “grants”.
The daily cost of living is on the rise. We cannot allow the most vulnerable sector of society to be taken advantage of by such ruthless criminals. This is illegal and it is daylight robbery.
The DA will submit the names of the suspected loan sharks to the Hawks and request them to urgently conduct an investigation and bring unlawful “lending” to a halt.
Last year, money lenders operating in Barkley West and Hartswater, were arrested by the Hawks for similar transactions. They subsequently received fines and suspended sentences, which do not appear to be have served as an effective deterrent to up and coming loan sharks in the province. The DA therefore also calls on the justice system for harsher punishment to be handed down to unscrupulous loan sharks that prey on the poor.
Only change under a DA led government will ensure that the safety net for the most vulnerable members of society is protected.
DA Northern Cape Provincial Leader
082 383 6914
079 2260 991