A loan shark with a heart...kind of

A Cape Town loan shark who has eight clients says his trade is illegal but not unreasonable.

This week Eyewitness News looks into the practice of microlending and its effect on those in the debt spiral.

CAPE TOWN - A Cape Town loan shark has admitted that although his trade may be illegal, he is not unscrupulous.

This week Eyewitness News has been looking into the practice of microlending and its effect on those in the debt spiral.

It coincides with a clampdown, by the South African Social Security Agency, on moneylenders who prey on the elderly at pension payout points.

A Northern suburbs loan shark claims he loans cash to eight store employees who earn shoddy salaries.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, says people are desperate for money, especially when incurring unexpected expenses.

"They need money for necessities or essentials or unplanned things."

However, the microlender says, as he has earned enough interest in the money lending trade, he is willing to give the eight people some relief over the festive season.

"By the end of this year, when they pay their monthly interest, I'll write off all their debt."

National and provincial social development agencies are warning loan sharks not to exploit the poor as getting caught may result in an arrest and jail time.