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Fifteen Northern Cape credit providers have been arrested for allegedly bullying people and using illegal collection tactics, the National Credit Regulator (NCR) said on Tuesday.
The arrests were made in a joint two-day operation between the regulator and the police, NCR investigations acting manager Zweli Zakwe said in a statement.
“The operation, dubbed 'Project Blitzkrieg', primarily focused on credit providers (both registered and unregistered) who are unlawfully retaining pension cards, bank cards, identity documents and personal identity numbers of their clients as surety,” he said.
“This is a contravention of the National Credit Act.”
The operation took place in De Aar, Petrusville, Noupoort and Colesberg.
Police searched property belonging to registered credit providers and unregistered lenders, known as “skoppers”.
Zakwe said the operation was part of the NCR’s strategy to ensure all credit providers still complied with the provisions of the act.
“The exploitation of vulnerable and unsuspecting consumers by credit providers will not be tolerated,” he said.
Police recovered 600 pension cards, 114 identity documents and 620 bank cards at the credit providers’ properties.
Zakwe said a similar operation was held in Port Elizabeth in October last year, and three skoppers were prosecuted in March, he said.
“Such operations will be extended to other parts of the country and credit providers are warned that the NCR will not condone these practices.”