Wesbank accused of charging its black clients more on interest

A financial investigating consultant's appeal for people to submit their vehicle financing contracts has highlighted alleged racial discrimination.

In a series of tweets, financial investigating consultant Emerald van Zyl appears to have opened another can of worms after calling on South Africans to submit to him their motor vehicle finance and bond contracts with WesBank in an attempt to prove alleged discrimination against its black clients.

Van Zyl has previously exposed several irregularities that some financial institutions were allegedly using to rip off their clients.

Van Zyl has now appealed on Twitter for the country to forward him their contracts with Wesbank as he claims there is reasonable proof that the bank is still charging its black clients hiked interest rates and that he wants to draft a report for the Human Rights Commission revealing this.

He told The Citizen of his intent to request a commission of inquiry to probe questionable irregularities by banks with regards to the inflated interest rates against black clients.

Since appealing to the public for what he describes as evidence against Wesbank, Van Zyl said he had received over 700 emails. He clarified that he needed around 15 contracts to attach to his report for the Human Rights Commission.

His claims to want a probe into his evidence of black clients paying almost double the amount in interest as opposed to white clients.

Van Zyl mentioned the Usury Act (Act No. 73 of 1968), which banks have been using to allegedly hike interest rates for its black consumers who, according to a report, banks claim are a higher risk.

During a Kaya FM interview earlier this year, he said: “I did find that banks are discriminating against black bondholders. What I want to tell the listeners is that in 1990, the Usury Act (1968) was amended to allow for a R5 administration fee, the purpose of that fee was to subsidise [the] bank for any losses due to high risk. It was never to be used for banks to discriminate against black bondholders.”

Van Zyl stressed that should the issue not be addressed, there was a danger that black clients would stop paying mortgage bonds and this could cripple the economy. He added that black clients could be charged 23% more on their loans.

The Citizen has contacted Wesbank in an attempt to hear their response to the allegations made by Van Zyl. An update will be provided once Wesbank has provided a response.

Earlier this year, Special Assignment aired an episode looking into whether or not banks discriminated against black people. A victim, Frans Mokomane, was interviewed by Special Assignment and said he was cheated out of R150,000 due to unfair discrimination with interest rates on mortgages by a certain bank. Van Zyl weighed in on the allegation by stating that several organisational bodies and banking councils were aware of the discrimination but had failed to act.

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