When mention is made of the 2008 global financial crisis, we are often told South Africa was "insulated" by the National Credit Act, a piece of legislation that is apparently lauded worldwide. Yet in the wake of our own much smaller crises, the act apparently has had little efficacy. The "Drive a New Car from R699" scam is a good case in point. When it imploded in July 2014, about 28000 consumers caught up in the scheme were still indebted to their banks, many of them overindebted. A great many have either had their cars repossessed by their banks or have surrendered them because they could not afford the full instalments when they stopped getting rebates for advertising the scheme. The banks that financed these deals - all of them did bar WesBank, which gave the scheme a wide berth - have denied that they included the advertising rebate in the consumer's income when assessing whether a consumer could afford the credit. WesBank reportedly decided against doing business with the Sati...

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