Trade and Industry minister Davies slams loan sharks

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Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies and National Consumer Commission Commissioner Ebrahim Mohamed interacting with consumers at Boulders Shopping Center, Midrand.

JOHANNESBURG – Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies on Wednesday encouraged consumers to know their rights and responsibilities, and also reminded service providers and credit lenders of their obligation to treat consumers fairly.

Davies made his comments while interacting with the public during a Consumer Rights Public Participation programme at Boulders Shopping Center in Midrand, Johannesburg on Wednesday.

He encouraged consumers to familiarise themselves with the services of the National Consumer Commission (NCC) and the National Credit Regulator (NCR), adding that consumers needed to take advantage of these structures.

Davies also took a swipe at credit lenders, saying that many people were falling victim to unscrupulous lenders and were making decisions that are affecting their credit profiles badly.

"Mashonisas cannot just charge consumers as they like, they need to make sure that consumers can afford," Davies said in a statement.

Mashonisas are loan-sharks or payday lenders, mostly operating informally. They are known to charge exorbitant amounts of interest.

"Consumers also need to know their rights for them to be able to determine if they are treated fairly by service providers."

The Consumer Rights Public Participation programme was part of the dti’s education campaign to ensure every consumers know their rights.

"We are here in the shopping center today to educate you about these rights and to help you as consumers," Davies said.

The NCC commissioner, Ebrahim Mohamed, said that consumer rights issues were not only about the service providers and credit lenders, but they were about consumers too.

Mohamed said that it was important for consumers to know that it is not only about their rights, but their obligations too as consumers.