IDs held until loans are paid

2011-01-12 00:00

DON’T hand your Identity Document (ID) over when borrowing money if you want to vote in the upcoming local government elections.

This warning comes after illegal credit providers confiscated a reader’s ID earlier last year as security for the money he borrowed from them.

The man, who asked to remain unnamed, will get his ID book back when he pays back the R30 000 he owes.

“I have no idea where I will get the money to pay back these people. However, as a South African citizen, it is my right to make my mark on that ballot paper,” said the distressed man.

He said when he took another R90 000 loan, which was set to pay off all his outstanding debts, the credit service provider he approached told him he did not have to make any payments for the first three months.

However, this suddenly changed when he was called to start making payments, just a month after signing the contract.

This time, he was charged R30 000 in interest.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said: “The Identification Act [No 68 of 1997] states that no person may be in possession of another person’s identity document.

“However, we must bear in mind that the person wilfully handed over his identity document [as surety] for money that was borrowed from the loan shark and this would be considered a civil agreement between both parties. Persons are advised not to take loans from unregistered credit service providers.”

South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) spokesperson Mbizeni Mdlalose said: “This is a common problem with our beneficiaries that leave their pension cards or IDs with credit providers, and it is a cause of concern. We have an ongoing program where we try to educate our beneficiaries with the National Credit Regulator [NCR] about responsible borrowing and their rights.”

The new National Credit Act (NCA) was passed in June 2007 to protect lenders and borrowers from irregular lending acts which over the years paved the way for over-indebtedness and irregular lending from “loan sharks”.

Under this act, credit service providers are obliged to inform the borrowers of the laws governing credit and the parties’ obligations.

Before the NCA came into being, it had been reported that borrowers hid their credit history which includes credit cards, child maintenance, car payments and mortgage. Lenders, on the other hand, did not bother to check their histories. One other important aspect of this act was to stop people borrowing who were not able to keep up with payments.

Mdlalose urged residents to report those who confiscate other people’s IDs to authorities.

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