23 May 2013 10:26
By Esme Rusberg
WINDHOEK, 23 MAY (NAMPA) - The Namibia Bank and Allied Workers? Union (NBWU) has called on the Namibia Financial Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) and the Bank of Namibia (BoN) to ban Transunion ITC and Compuscan from operating in Namibia.
Both Transunion ITC and Compuscan are South African credit bureaus, providing consumer and commercial credit information within South Africa and in other African countries, including Namibia.
The Secretary-General of the NBWU, Lawrence Ihuhua said during a media briefing here on Thursday that these credit registers have no legal standing in the Namibian Constitution, and are operating illegally here.
He said the ?blacklisting? of people in Namibia has led to financial discrimination against workers as they do not have access to banking facilities, such as personal loans and overdrafts.
Ihuhua said companies must find other mechanisms to collect their debts from clients.
?This unconstitutional practice violates the provisions in the Namibian Labour Act, which states that you may not discriminate against the person's economic status,? he argued.
Ihuhua said because of these institutions, there is no privacy of clients? data, despite the fact that such information should be treated as confidential, and should not be disclosed to third parties without the client?s consent.
?The right of personal information remains confidential and personal. But, we are increasingly seeing a situation where credit grantors simply take consumers to the Transunion credit bureau whenever they default on payments.
There are no proper guidelines in this handing-over process, and consumers are not always informed of it either,? he charged.
The unionist explained that if consumers are blacklisted on ITC, it blocks them from entering into any other credit agreement or form of contract with another party, or even from getting a job at a banking institution or a loan from a bank.
He also called on the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics, Natural Resources and Public Administration to seriously look into this matter.
The NBWU secretary-general said his office has written letters to Namfisa and the Bank of Namibia (BoN) in the past about the operations of Transunion in Namibia, but these institutions have not responded yet.
If nothing is done about this matter, it will force the NBWU, through the Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA), to push Government to take this matter to the High Court to declare Transunion?s operations unconstitutional in Namibia.
Namfisa's Manager for Communications Isack Hamata could not be reached for comment by the time of publishing this article, while the BoN said it will respond in due course.