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Loan shark deal prevent some voters from casting ballots

Some South Africans were unable to vote the local government elections because of loan shark agreements.

IEC officials process voters at a school in Matsila. Of the 1000 registered voters in the area, by midday only 24 had voted. Indicative of the intimidation and boycott happening in Vuwani. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Human Rights organisation Black Sash says it's concerned about registered voters who were unable to cast their ballot in the local elections this week, because their documents are being withheld by loan sharks.

On Wednesday, Eyewitness News received complaints and reaction from upset residents who could not vote because of micro-lenders who insist that borrowers must hand over their ATM or bank account and identity documents (ID book) if they wish to get money.



A Johannesburg resident says he has attempted to retrieve his ID book but could not get hold of the lender.

"I had a problem and needed the money desperately. I went to see him but he was not home."

The organisation has warned that while this may have broader implications for the individuals.

Regional manager for Johannesburg Thandiwe Zulu says: "It is a very gross violation of a human beings right, having your ID document taken away from you because it also closes the doors for you in terms of accessing basic rights like the right to vote. If you have problems in your household with access to basic services, how are you going to access these without your ID because this is the first document they want?"

Zulu says borrowers can lay a criminal charge.

"The necessary steps to take is to actually go lay a charge because that is a criminal charge. It can't be negotiated. Crime is crime. I would like to urge all South Africans that they do not engage in any transaction that would take their ID away from them. Immediately when you do that, you are also an accomplice to that crime."

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