A man displays money at the exchange market in Suq Bacad market in Mogadishu, Somalia, Nov. 18, 2015. (Xinhua/ Faisal Isse)
A man displays money at the exchange market in Suq Bacad market in Mogadishu, Somalia, Nov. 18, 2015. (Xinhua/ Faisal Isse)

The community of Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal were told to be vigilant and report any credit providers especially loan sharks and abomashonisa who take advantage of their credit loan facilities and prejudice them. The warning came from the Director of Consumer Law and Policy at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Mr Andisa Potwana. He was speaking during the national education and awareness campaign on the Liquor, National Gambling, Lotteries Amendment, National Credit, Consumer Protection, Copyright, Performers Protection, and Companies Acts held in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal today.

“Everyone who feels prejudiced by loan sharks and abomashonisa must report their conduct to the National Credit Regular and the police should they feel that they are being taken advantage of and forced to give out their SASSA cards, identity documents and bank cards,” advised Potwana.

According to Potwana, every credit provider should be registered with the National Credit Regular so that they can act within the law and avoid instances where consumers are taken advantage of by being charged high and unlawful interest rates.

“One of the main objectives of the National Credit Act is to curb reckless landing and to assist consumers who are over- indebted. Those who are over-indebted are encouraged to approach a registered debt counsellor who will assess their financial means and obligations. Thereafter, the debt-counsellor will assist the consumer through a process of debt review. The process involves recommending to the court how much a consumer should pay a month. If that recommendation is acceptable then the consumer pays that reduced amount to all credit providers,” he says.

Potwana added that the mechanism of debt review helps consumers to retain possession of their property unlike previously when they would be subjected to litigation and end up losing their properties such as houses and cars.

He also said that education and awareness campaigns such as the one that the dti has undertaken, are encouraged, particularly in rural areas in order to educate both the consumers and credit providers on what is legally acceptable and what is not.

The campaign, which will be rolled out across the country until February 2018, started in Limpopo last week and will proceed to Mandeni on Wednesday.