We’ve all seen the cars driving on our roads which advertise that it’s possible to buy a new car for just R699 rand a month and other low amounts. This deal sounds too good to be true. That’s because it is. The deal run by Satinsky 128 and Blue Lakes Trading and Promotions has crumbled.

This month, the companies announced that they would stop running the deal effective immediately and that customers would no longer be paid advertising rebates. The collapse of the deal has left an estimated 29 000 customers out in the financial cold. Originally it was estimated that only 17 000 people had bought cars using this deal, but a Satinsky insider has revealed to Special Assignment that it is as much as 29 000.

The car deals were offered and advertised by companies, Just Group Africa, Drive Car Sales and Agera Cars. These companies all fall under Satinsky 128, which is owned and founded by Petrus Albertus Venter, or Albert Venter as he is popularly known.

According to contracts between Satinsky 128 and its customers, the company was supposed to pay its customers an advertising fee for driving around with the highly noticeable branding displayed on the back of their car thus offsetting the monthly instalment of the car with their bank. This effectively made the customer an Advertising Service Provider for Satinsky. But many customers, like 67-year old Brenda Coetzee who should be retired by now, the payments haven’t been realised. As a result she cannot afford to retire as she is a widow and has a mentally disabled daughter who is still dependant on her.

The “R699 Car Deal” has all the classic signs of a pyramid scheme. But what exactly was the business model of this scheme and was it legal?

This is a two-part series which also interrogate the role that the banks; Nedbank’s MFC, ABSA Bank and Standard Bank have played in this saga and we ask: was the relationship mutually beneficial to both Satinsky and the banks? Will the wheels of justice turn for the people who have been done in by this deal or will their cars be their wheels of injustice?

Watch “Wheels of Injustice” produced by Richelle Seton-Rogers. It will be aired on Special Assignment – broadcast on SABC 3 Sundays at 20:00PM.