ALL about banking in South Africa you are not supposed to know 

they lie........they cheat .........they steal.

    because the  Government allowes them to.



Emerald van Zyl started his career as a financial investigating consultant in 1992. During this time he recovered more than R223 million in respect of vercharges from financial institutions on behalf of consumers in South Africa. This exclude the R 153 million that were refunded in June 2006 to Saambou Clients for overcharges related to illegal interest in advance, which he unfolded. He futhermore assisted 1 578 homeowners in stopping  the sale of execution of their homes for allegedly being in arrears with their monthly instalments.

At present he is in the process recovering R2  b on behalf of  23 000 low cost housing bondholders  from FNB for unfair discrimination with interest rates on black low cost houysing bondholders in the Western Cape Equality Court.

In his 27 years of experience as a mortgage investigator he has successfuly exploited all the irregularities  that banks are using to rip off th1eir clients. Find out more by visiting "ARTICLES" on this website.

In 1996 he  successfully unfolded irregularities with the controversial 1992 drought scheme and wrong interest methodology with farmers Co-Operative accounts. He assisted 34 farmers in setting aside the sale in execution of their farms. He was very instrumental in the appointment of the Heath Investigating Unit by former President Nelson Mandela in 1999.

In February  1998 he unfolded the illegal method of calculating interest in advance by Saambou Bank. Saambou continued to use this unlawful practise, notwithstanding a letter dated 6 June 1990, from the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Dr C. Stals, informing all financial institutions that the method of calculating of interest in advance was in contravention of the directives of the Usury Act, Act No 73 of 1968, as amended. All banks and Building Societies immediately converted to the correct method, except Saambou.

Under pressure from the South African Reserve Bank and the Registrar of the Usury Act, Saambou converted from interest in advance to interest in arrears on 1 September 1999. This was very costly for the 5 th largest bank in South Africa. With the convertion to the correct interest methodology, the bank lost one month of interest income, estimated in excess of R 110 million. 

To recover the loses, the Board of Directors of Saambou decided to increase the interest rates of poor people living in townships i.e. low cost housing. The way it was done is not to reduce interest rates in a declinin phase of the prime rates. High Cost Housing received these decreases.

On 9 February 2002, Saambou collapsed. At that point in time Emerald had assisted 28 Saambou bond client’s in stopping the sale in execution of their homes for allegedly being in arrears with their monthly instalments. At present he has assisted more than 180 black Saambou clients. Many of these families are still staying in their houses.

FNB took over the mortgage book of Saambou with all it liabilities for R1. However, the mortgage book for low cost housing was bought by FNB in February 1998 by securitisation. So they were the proud owners  of the Low Cost Housing book and therefor responsible for the discrimination.

As Emerald van Zyl was instrumental in the collapse of Saambou, the Government did not waste any time in pursuing against him . On the 14 February 2002,  5 days after the collapse of Saambou, , the Harmful Business Practise Committee under instruction of the the Minister of Finance, Mr. Trevor Manuel proceeded with an investigation of his business practise under section 8(1)(a)  of the Consumer Affairs Act, 71 of 1988. This action was instituted without any complalnts from consumers. On 14 May 2002 the Department of Trade and Industry raided his office at home and remove a number of lever arch files. This happened without a court order.

The Commitee published his name in the Government Gazette dated 2 March 2002. Emerald summonsed  Mr. Alex Erwin, the Minister of Trade and Industry at that point in time, for R 2.4 million in damages. Shortly afterwards he summonsed the Chairman of the Harmful Business Practise Commitee, Prof Tanya Wocker for R 3 million for malice prosecution. These matters were later settled out of court. Read more about this matter under the heading "Emerald's ordeal with the Harmful Business Practice Committee" on Index page. 

FNB took over the mortgage loans of Saambou with all it liabilities for a concideration of R1. However, the low cost housing book was taken over by FNB by means of securitisation in Feb 1998.

In more than 4000 low cost housing mortgage accounts investigated, the failure to reduce the interest rates of low cost housing happenend on exactly on the dates as set out below.Here are the dates and the percentages of interest rates. High Cost Housing, however, received the benefit of these interest rate decreases. 


              1 February  1999     1.0%                       

              1 February 2000       0.25%

              1 July 2001               0. 75%

               1 October 2001        0.25%

              1 November 2001     0.5%


This means that in the period 1 February 1999 until 1 November 2001 the interest rates on low cost housing were increased by FNB to approximately 2.75% higher than the interest rates charged on High Cost Housing.


At present than 3 low cost housing victims of this unlawful practice, which was referred to “as the biggest interest scandal in the history of South African Banking” on a recent program on "Special Assignment, have submitted their cases of unfair discrimination with interest rates to the Equality Court in the Western Cape.


On 7 November 2007 he was invited by community leaders and the Human Rights Commission to testify in the public hearing on Housing, Evictions and Repossessions. In his presentation, for which he received a standing ovation, he informed the Chairman Mr. Leon Wessels that consumer protection in South Africa has collapsed as banks were charging black bondholders in the low income group housing sector up to 6 % more than white homeowners. He also informed the Commission that banks were not allowed to charge the low cost housing sector a higher interest rate than those clients in the High Cost Housing Sector, as there was a fee of R5 (VAT excluded) introduced in June 1990. The purpose of this fee was for banks to recover any losses that might occurred  due to the higher risk  and therefore charged low and high cost housing the same interest rate on their mortgage bonds.


On 16 September 2009, he discovered irregularities with Landbank loan accounts. In an interview with Alex Hogg on Moneyweb on 18 September 2009, Mr. W. Meyer, financial director of Landbank at that point in time, admitted that Emerald was correct and that Landbank’s interest recalculations were indeed incorrect. At the time Landbank placed a prohibition on execution sales, Emerald had already assisted 5 farmers in the Hexriver Valley in stopping the sale in execution of their farms due to incorrect interest recalculations on their Landbank loan accounts.


On 15 May 2013, the television program Carte Blanche celebrated their 25 th birthday anniversary. Emerald was honoured as being selected by  Carte Blanche to be interviewed on the program as one of their selected 5 heroes in the 25 years.