10 nabbed in sting by Sassa and po­lice to foil il­le­gal lend­ing

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

TEN PEO­PLE have been ar­rested in a sting op­er­a­tion car­ried out jointly by the SA So­cial Se­cu­rity Agency (Sassa) and the SAPS.

The group, three women and seven men aged be­tween 30 and 50, was ar­rested in Nigel in the early hours of yes­ter­day morn­ing at ATM ma­chines and a lo­cal mer­chant store.

This fol­lows an in­tel­li­gence-led in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the il­le­gal lend­ing of money us­ing Sassa cards as col­lat­eral.

“We found peo­ple who were with­draw­ing money from the bank on be­half of the own­ers of the cards.

“We are in­ves­ti­gat­ing if these cards were stolen or oth­er­wise,” said po­lice spokesper­son Colonel Kay Makhubele.

“We also ar­rested the man­agers of this op­er­a­tion, who are Chi­nese,” he added.

Paseka Let­satsi of Sassa said the sus­pects were found in pos­ses­sion of a lot of cash, more than 900 Sassa cards in­clud­ing PINs, as well as two firearms whose le­gal­ity is the sub­ject of in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Other sus­pects man­aged to es­cape in four cars and the po­lice are cur­rently hot on their heels, he said.

A lux­ury car was also im­pounded dur­ing the op­er­a­tion.

It is be­lieved that the modus operandi of the sus­pects was to re­cruit “vul­ner­a­ble so­cial grant re­cip­i­ents” to the scheme and of­fer them loans pro­vided they sur­ren­dered their Sassa cards and PINs.

“The af­fected Sassa ben­e­fi­cia­ries would have to col­lect their monthly grants from these money lenders after the re­pay­ments are sub­tracted.

“These acts are il­le­gal as they don’t com­ply with ev­ery pro­vi­sion of the Na­tional Credit Act of 2005. “A grant re­cip­i­ent would al­legedly be given a loan with­out the lender even con­duct­ing ba­sic tests of af­ford­abil­ity and usu­ally re­sult in over-in­debt­ed­ness.

“This goes against the very grain of the gov­ern­ment’s war against poverty and lands so­cial grant ben­e­fi­cia­ries in a ter­ri­ble state of af­fairs.

“A vi­cious cy­cle of in­debt­ed­ness would then be­gin and the ben­e­fi­ciary gets tempted to re­pay one loan with a new one,” Let­satsi said.

“Sassa ap­plauds the ef­forts of the team which led to these ar­rests, and par­tic­u­larly the work done by SAPS to en­sure that the poor are pro­tected and these il­le­gal lenders are thrown in jail.

“These na­tional op­er­a­tions will con­tinue un­til the very last of these un­scrupu­lous lenders are brought to book.

“Ben­e­fi­cia­ries are once more warned not to use their Sassa cards for bor­row­ing money be­cause it’s il­le­gal.”

Mem­bers of the pub­lic are re­quested to call the po­lice or con­tact Sassa at 0800 60 10 11 to re­port il­le­gal money lend­ing.

A woman was ar­rested in Oc­to­ber 2016 for being in pos­ses­sion of a fake Sassa card which she al­leged she had bought for R1 000.

This may raise eye­brows, in­di­cat­ing, as it does, how much Sassa cards are worth on the black mar­ket.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.