Worry grows over Net1's business practice

accreditation
Share your Subscriber Article
You have 5 articles to share every month. Send this story to a friend!

Johannesburg - Allan Gray, one of South Africa’s biggest money managers, said it’s “increasingly concerned” over the running of Net1 UEPS Technologies Inc., a company whose lending practices to people on welfare have been criticised as unethical by human rights organisations.

The second-biggest shareholder in Net1, with a 15.6% stake, said its research into the company shows that the business doesn’t always answer its phones when called by clients, who are among South Africa’s poorest and least educated. Net1 has the contract to distribute welfare payments to more than 17 million South Africans and has been accused of illegally using information it gleans to help its subsidiaries sell those people services such as mobile-phone airtime and loans.

“It’s not illegal not to answer your phone but it’s not good business practice,” Andrew Lapping, Allan Gray’s chief investment officer, said in an interview on Thursday. “We’ve been trying to find out exactly how beneficiaries are treated. If you have a problem, how easy is it to get hold of them? How easy is it to cancel debit orders?”

Support independent journalism
Subscribe to News24 for just R75 per month to read all our investigative and in-depth journalism.
Subscribe
Already a subscriber? Sign in
Rand - Dollar
14.59
-0.0%
Rand - Pound
20.30
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
17.34
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.73
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Gold
1,814.19
0.0%
Silver
25.49
0.0%
Palladium
2,662.50
0.0%
Platinum
1,051.86
0.0%
Brent Crude
75.41
+0.4%
Top 40
62,852
-0.9%
All Share
68,971
-0.9%
Resource 10
70,683
-2.0%
Industrial 25
88,051
-0.4%
Financial 15
12,906
+0.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
In light of the recent looting, do you think a basic income grant is the right approach to deal with SA’s hunger and poverty problems?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
It will go a long way in helping fight the symptoms of SA’s entrenched inequality, especially for those who are starving right now
20% - 1492 votes
SA’s problems are complex, and we instead need to spend that money on building and growing our economy, which will help the country in the long run
31% - 2313 votes
All grants are a problem as they foster a reliance on handouts
49% - 3653 votes
Vote