MMM SAGA: Media and banks trying to help consumers

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Cape Town – While many MMM subscribers believe banks, the Hawks and the media are out to get them, the truth is that the investment sector genuinely wants to protect people from products that are likely to wipe out their savings.

The message from Peter Dempsey, deputy CEO of the Association for Savings and Investment (Asisa), is that the media as well as the savings and INVESTMENT INDUSTRY has a duty to help consumers distinguish between legitimate products and those that are likely to cause financial losses.

This follows questioning from Fin24 users about why an alleged pyramid scheme like MMM is any different to regulated savings and investment products.

Fin24 has been inundated by emails from MMM supporters, most of whom vehemently defend the scheme and believe the financial business has a warped view of what it is all about.

siyagumede73 writes: “I really think you guys should not publish lies out there. MMM is for us and it here to stay so get over it.”

Another typical response is from Lerato, who writes: “I have built a half a million rand house with the money I have invested with MMM and I don’t think there is a problem with it.”

Fin 24 user Maya writes: “Obviously the Bank and powers in control – will fight this because of fear and losing their control and manipulation grip on the people. can’t get to grasp what is really going on and think they play hero to ‘Rescue’ the people who are too stupid to decide for themselves! As they are insinuating!”

Fin24 users caught in the debt trap say they use this underground method to find what they call financial freedom.

M Mhlongo says that with MMM, there is “no more paying loans for a long period from banks”.

Questioning the criticism of MMM, C Sithole asks: “is it because we have exposed their (banks’) exploitation on the interest they give us when we bank with them?”

M Ralekholela says “banks survive by taking from ordinary people and make money for themselves”.

K Maesela says “if you find comfort in putting your money in the bank, great, but always remember this. If you put R10 000 in the bank for five years, you’ll make around R12 500. If you get a loan for R10 000 for five years, you will pay back around R22 000 if not more.”

However, there are those who sound a note of caution. Sboniso Ngobese comments: “I don’t think that MMM is ilegal but members can eventually lose their money if allegations contenue and end up affecting how the system works. It can stop runing smoothly by the way.”

Jozy is on the verge of panic: “However I have three days now since I asked for help. I haven’t received the funds thus far. I was told to be patient by a friend who referred me there. He said it takes about 72hrs for payments to be disbursed. Not more. I’m scared. I saw someone on twitter claiming that there’s a problem with payouts. I stand to back up that claim.”

Smart Mahlangu has seen it all before. He writes: “I lost money through Defence X, and what hurt me the most is that the same people who lost with me are the ones that are recruit people for MMM. I pity them when MMM collapse. They will blame everyone but not themselves.”

While those in the debt trap are desperate to find their way out and are quick to blame the banks, Dempsey warned that schemes offering 30% returns, which MMM does via its donation-based system, should sound alarm bells.

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