EVERY month, desperate elders queue to borrow money from mashonisas.
The loan sharks take their Sassa cards as surety. Then they withdraw their clients’ grants on the first of the month, often taking more than they’re owed.
On Monday, two mashonisas were caught by cops withdrawing beneficiaries’ cash in Springs, Ekurhuleni.
Captain Johannes Ramphora said the suspects, aged 26 and 30, were caught withdrawing money at various ATMs. “The police spotted them with black plastic bags full of Sassa cards. When they were searched, they were found to have a number of Sassa cards and cash,” he said.
“The suspects confessed they were employed by a loan shark in Springs and they were arrested.”
Ramphora said R126 000 was recovered from the first suspect and R23 000 from the second. They were charged for violating the National Credit Act.
He said they would appear in court soon as cops were still linking them to other cases.
The SunTeam spoke to gogo Johanna Moloi (67) from Etwatwa, Ekurhuleni, who said she borrowed from mashonisas to supplement her grant. “I have four kids relying on my grant because their parents are not working,” she said.
“I receive R1 700 a month but the money is not enough. Some of these mashonisas take more than we owe them and we wish something could be done to stop them.
“We are stuck with these people because we have so many mouths to feed.”
Angelo Hlophe (37) from Katlehong said her Sassa card was always with a mashonisa. “I cannot afford to support my child because I am not working and the child-support grant is too little,” she said.
Pensioner Hezekiel Nkuna (75) said borrowing from mashonisas helped him.
“I don’t borrow much and I make sure as soon as they have their money, I get my card back,” he said.
Mashonisa Seun Ditau told the SunTeam he had a healthy relationship with his customers. “I take cards because some customers aren’t honest. Once they get paid, they disappear. We are also in business and we need to safeguard ourselves.” -dailysun.co.za