Credit Amend­ment Bill of­fers re­lief

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Dale Hes


If you are one of the ap­prox­i­mately 10 mil­lion South Africans strug­gling with debt is­sues, help could be on the way.

The Draft Na­tional Credit Amend­ment Bill was sub­mit­ted for pub­lic com­ment at the end of 2017.

The Draft Bill out­lines gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed debt in­ter­ven­tions, with the aim of pro­vid­ing re­lief to cit­i­zens who have no ef­fec­tive or ef­fi­cient op­tions to get them­selves out of debt.

The de­vel­op­ment of the Draft Bill was based on the dire need to ad­dress the is­sue of debt in South Africa.

There was ex­ten­sive re­search into in­ter­na­tional debt re­lief ini­tia­tives and the vi­a­bil­ity of such a move in South Africa was stud­ied.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic were in­vited to sub­mit pub­lic com­ment on the Bill un­til 15 Jan­uary 2018, with pub­lic hear­ings held on 6 and 7 Fe­bru­ary.

If Par­lia­ment passes the Draft Bill the rel­e­vant amend­ments will be made to the Na­tional Credit Act, and South Africans who meet cer­tain cri­te­ria will

be able to ap­ply for debt re­lief.

How will it work?

• A per­son ap­ply­ing for debt re­lief has to be a South African cit­i­zen un­der a credit agree­ment. The to­tal owed debt should not ex­ceed R50 000.

The ap­pli­cant should

• re­ceive no in­come or an in­come that, in the six months be­fore mak­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion, was not more than R7 500 per month.

The ap­pli­cant should have no as­sets that can be con­verted into cash (ex­clud­ing cer­tain ne­ces­si­ties).

Cer­tain credit agree­ments, in­clud­ing de­vel­op­men­tal credit agree­ments, are ex­cluded. Con­sumers who are un­der debt re­view, or against whom le­gal ac­tion has been taken for not set­tling their debt, do not qual­ify for debt in­ter­ven­tion.

Only one ap­pli­ca­tion can be made per ap­pli­cant. If the Na­tional Credit Reg­u­la­tor rules that the ap­pli­cant

• re­quires as­sis­tance, the credit agree­ment could be sus­pended for 12 months, de­pend­ing on the ap­pli­cant’s fi­nan­cial cir­cum­stances.

Dur­ing the pub­lic hear­ings nu­mer­ous stake­hold­ers, rang­ing from banks to debt coun­sel­lors, ac­count­ing firms, labour unions and gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, gave pre­sen­ta­tions. Fol­low­ing these hear­ings, it has been rec­om­mended that the Draft Bill be re­ferred in or­der to re­move any con­sti­tu­tional un­cer­tain­ties.

Who can con­sumers turn to when they are in debt?

If you’re cur­rently strug­gling with debt, or have any other re­lated is­sues, con­tact Con­sumer Re­lief on 0861 0861 10.

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