If there's one tree to shake in corporate South Africa, it's that of banking - and in particular unsecured lending. By its very nature, lending in our context, because of high unemployment, sluggish economic performance and growing inequality, is a risky business. As such, even though South Africa has one the best-regulated banking sectors in the world, we are prone to the occasional wobble in financial stability, some worse than others, such as the case with African Bank four years ago. The only way regulators can reduce this risk is by legislating that the big four don't play in the unsecured lending market, but this would mean the bulk of South Africans would be rendered even more vulnerable to loan sharks such as "Laqasha" in the 1980s sitcom 'Sgudi 'Snaysi. So it's a risk we simply have to carry. For a short-seller looking to shake things up, it's fertile ground to look for a company that is perhaps most exposed to the borrowing habits of a country with the highest unemployment...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now