31 suspects were found in possession of hundreds of SASSA cards. PHOTO: SAPS A group claiming to be loan sharks were arrested after being found in possession of bank cards, thousands of rands in cash and hundreds of SASSA cards in the East Rand. It is alleged that a group of ‘loan sharks’ kept SASSA cards of those who took out loans with them, said police spokesperson Colonel Noxolo Kweza. ALSO READ: SASSA warns of SCAM where fake officials try to change payment cards A multidisciplinary team was established to bust the suspects. This included detectives from the Gauteng Provincial Head Office Commercial Crimes Investigation Unit and members of the Springs South African Police Service. They worked together with investigators from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the National Credit Regulator (NCR), said Kwezi. SASSA LOAN SHARKS BUSTED BY POLICE WITH HUNDREDS OF CARDS The multidisciplinary team operationalised this information and decided to execute a takedown on the alleged loan sharks on Thursday. “Police in Gauteng apprehended 15 males and 16 females, aged between 19 and 55 years old at the Springs Mall in Selection Park, Springs, for contravention of the Social Assistance Act.” This group of 31 were found with 300 SASSA and bank cards as well as cash in the amount of R100 000. “The group of suspects are expected to appear before the Springs Magistrate’s Court, while further investigations are underway,” she said. ALSO READ: Woman found with SASSA cards and IDs sentenced Meanwhile, a woman faces time in jail or a hefty fine for being found in possession of SASSA and bank cards in the Northern Cape. Patience Bhunzani, 37, was sentenced by the Douglas Regional Court for corruption and contravening the National Credit Act last month. She was arrested in December 2019 after a search and seizure which found several different cards in her home including South African ID cards. Bhunzani was handed a sentence of five years imprisonment with three years wholly suspended. She could opt to pay a R100 000 fine. This sentence applied to contravening the National Credit Act. The second charge of corruption came with a sanction of R15 000, or eight years’ imprisonment, with five years wholly suspended with conditions.