South Africa: Mashonisas Cash in On 'Debt Relief' Law

opinion

By signing the Bill on debt relief, President Cyril Ramaphosa has shut out low-income workers - those who earn less than R7,500 a month - from receiving credit from financial institutions.

On 13 August 2019 President Ramaphosa signed the Credit Amendment Bill, also known as the "Debt Relief Bill", under cover of darkness as he left for a state visit to Tanzania.

While Ramaphosa flew off in the presidential jet, I wonder if he fully comprehended the damage he was causing; visiting misery on millions of South Africans who had trusted him to better their lives.

The only people celebrating that night, thanking their lucky stars for the President's signature, were the mashonisas (township loan sharks), who operate throughout the length and breadth of South Africa.

It is estimated the mashonisa business is worth R4-billion and that four million people are ensnared in a cycle of debt without any consumer protection.

The sharks would have been in a jovial mood because the president had effectively shut out low-income workers, who earn less than R7,500 a month, from receiving credit from financial institutions. If they are lucky enough to convince someone else to lend them money, they are going to be...

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