NCR: Credit Regulator in ‘Operation Blitzkrieg’

In a bid to stem the abuse of consumers by lenders and ensure compliance with the National Credit Act (NCA), the National Credit Regulator (NCR) conducted 16 joint onsite investigations as part of its ‘Operation Blitzkrieg’ initiative.  The NCR partnered with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Directorate of Priority Crimes and Investigation in Venda, Thohoyandou this week, which led to the arrest of nine (9) lenders who contravened the NCA.

“The operation dubbed ‘Blitzkrieg’ primarily focuses 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 Nomsa Motshegare, CEO of the NCR. “This is a contravention of the National Credit Act (NCA) and it is a criminal offence”, she added.

Motshegare stated that this is part of the NCR’s ongoing strategy to ensure that all credit providers, no matter where they conduct business, comply with the provisions of the National Credit Act. “The exploitation of vulnerable and unsuspecting consumers by credit providers will not be tolerated,” she added.

During the operation nine (9) people were arrested and as a result, nine (9) criminal cases were opened. In addition, the suspects were found to be in possession of nine (9) pension cards, 75 ID books and 142 bankcards.

In addition, the team also found other serious contraventions of the NCA by credit providers such as:

•          Excessive interest charges

•          Unlawful provisions contained in the credit agreements

•          Failure to conduct proper affordability assessments

•          Lack of pre-agreement statements and quotations provided to consumers

•          No proper credit agreements

•          Use of blank process documents. (These documents are later completed by the credit providers in order to obtain court orders such as garnishee orders).

Motshegare complimented the SAPS and the Directorate of Priority Crimes and Investigation from Thohoyandou and Polokwane for their excellent assistance to the NCR during this operation, and for their willingness to assist consumers.

“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 National Credit Regulator will not condone any contraventions by credit providers”, concluded Motshegare.

  The National Credit Regulator has already conducted similar blitzkriegs in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Western Cape and the North West Provinces. The results were as follows:

•          2561 bank cards

•          1220 Pension cards

•          401  ID’s

•          35 criminal charges opened in the towns / dorpies visited

•          47 people were arrested.

The six criminal cases opened with the SA Police in Port Elizabeth have been finalised in court and the results are set out below:

o          In the first matter, the accused pleaded guilty to 5 counts of contravening Section 133 of the NCA and was sentenced to a fine of R 5 000 or 12 months imprisonment wholly suspended for 5 years on certain conditions.

o          In the second matter, the accused pleaded guilty to 11 counts of contravening Section 133 of the NCA and was sentenced to a fine of R 8 000 or 12 months imprisonment wholly suspended for 5 years on certain conditions.

o          In the third matter, the accused pleaded guilty to 14 counts of contravening Section 133 of the NCA and was sentenced to a fine of R 10 000 or 12 months imprisonment wholly suspended for 5 years on certain conditions.

o          In the fourth matter, the accused pleaded guilty to 9 counts of contravening section 133 of the NCA and was sentenced to a fine of R 8 000 or 24 months imprisonment wholly suspended for 5 years on certain conditions.

o          In the fifth matter, the accused pleaded guilty to 38 counts of contravening section 133 of the NCA and was sentenced on each count (38 of them) to a fine of R 2 000 or 6 months imprisonment wholly suspended for 5 years on certain conditions.

o          In the sixth matter, the accused pleaded guilty to 3 counts of contravening section 133 of the NCA and was sentenced to a fine of R 8 000 or 12 months imprisonment wholly suspended for 5 years on certain conditions.

 

Statement issued by the NCR

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