Dear Mr De Kock
LETTER OF GRATITUDE
Our meeting of the 10th of May 2018 refers.
I wish to express my gratitude that you convened us in the manner that you did. We are particularly grateful that you took time out of your busy schedule to prioritise this matter and to listen to us and allow us to engage with you.
I believe it was a worthwhile and valuable exercise, where both sides of the story were expressed and pondered. Given yesterday’s deliberations it also became quite evident that something was amiss; all considered there is certainly a problem that needs to be attended to.
Against the backdrop of the meeting I would also like to make the following observations:
• I noted your firm response that the bank is not responsible or that it cannot be held accountable for the dealer’s actions.
• As a layman, I had difficulty staying abreast of your perspective in this instance. The reason being that at all, if not most dealerships, there are bank representatives, who actually perform and participate in the acquisition process of a vehicle, liaising with and on behalf of banks.
• It hence becomes difficult for me to grasp if the bank will now want to exonerate itself, when there is a problem.
• Mr Ndara outlined to all of us in detail how the problematic deal came to be. I must say again I appreciate your frankness when you responded to him by saying “If what you are saying is true and accurate, then I must sympathise with you because you will have been done a grave injustice”
• In all honesty anyone who would hear and intimately understand how the deal was concluded, can only sympathise with the situation in which he now finds himself. You will have noted the scathing comments made on my social media platforms; it was clear that the majority of responders either sympathised or empathised with him.
• The other significant point that came from the meeting was that, he could have obliged and continued to make payments towards the vehicle, and had he not spent it on lawyers perhaps he would have settled the balance of the debt, but the principle superseded all.
• In fact, Sir, Mr Ndara did not take a decision to pay himself. His lawyer at the time, Mr Ben Du Plessis, based in Pretoria, wrote to the bank in October of 2007 requesting documentation that de facto amended or cancelled the original agreement of 2004 that had been signed by both parties. When a month went by without a response, he advised Mr Ndara of his rights in terms of payments especially in view of the two reloaded agreements.
2. Facilitation of a meeting with the dealership
I also believe that in view of master agreements between banks and dealerships, it is rather unfortunate that in this case the bank and the dealership worked together in the courts pursuing Mr Ndara. That is what makes me rather uncomfortable with your having to preside over the matter.
Nevertheless, now that you have made this suggestion and also your response to Mr Ndara’s narration I do believe that you are engaging with us in good faith.
I would therefore suggest that you proceed and arrange the meeting with the dealership so that everyone involved is present. Given that this is a credit agreement and to give more clarity and to lend credence to the meeting, you must also invite a representative from the National Credit Regulator, the custodian of credit agreements. Such a move would allow all of us to gain clarity and help us to move in the right direction.
This by no means stops anyone who wants to go to court, but in the spirit of yesterday’s meeting I believe it is very important that we meet as such.
3. Way Forward
At the end of the day, the bank is licensed to operate and as such it is obligatory that it also operates within the parameters and conditions of the license that it has been granted. We have various bodies like the Parliamentary Committee on Finance, the Financial Services Board, Ombudsmen, National Treasury, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Reserve Bank Disciplinary Committee who may take a particular interest in this matter.
However, given our engagement yesterday I am convinced if we soberly apply our minds we may well be able to find one another here, as we are not only dealing with our opinions but more fundamentally we are also dealing with the laws that govern this country.
As a member of parliament and the president of a political party it is my duty to see this matter through. I have no intention of abandoning this process. I intend to follow through until this matter is resolved either way.
Once more I appreciate your leadership yesterday and I look forward to further engagement on this matter.
Mr Bantu Holomisa
Member of Parliament
President of the United Democratic Movement