Just what is the ‘new Net1’?
Financial Mail | Rob Rose | 25 November 2021
Fintech firm Net1 is still trying to shake the image of a company fleecing social grant recipients. But winning back legitimacy isn’t that easy.
“Rehabilitation is a journey. There’s been a lot of hurt and a lot of mistrust,” says Lincoln Mali, the former Standard Bank executive now heading Net1’s SA division.
The hurt he describes stems from a dark period in SA’s recent business history, when Net1 unlawfully scored the contract to pay 17-million social grants every month between 2012 and 2018, and then fleeced the grant beneficiaries.
The problem wasn’t so much the Constitutional Court ruling in 2016 that Net1’s payment arm, Cash Paymaster Services, had unlawfully scored the welfare contract; rather, it was the way in which it insidiously flogged products such as loans and airtime to grant recipients.
For example, one of its products, Umoya Manje, allowed grant recipients to buy airtime on credit.