NCA Amendment Bill: Comments Due Soon
In response to political pressure and a desire to assist consumers who are stressed by the current collections processes of the banks, the Portfolio Committee on Trade & Industry is proposing some additions to the National Credit Act.
‘it is debt review done by the NCR’
Though the proposed debt relief measures hold little hope for most consumers (and would seldom, if ever be used) they do present the Minister of Trade and Industry with a way to possibly help some consumers in hard hit industries every now and then.
The danger lies in the execution of the proposed debt intervention process. As mentioned at the National Credit Regulator’s recent Cape Town Conference with Debt Counsellors and Credit Providers: it is “debt review done by the NCR”. The proposed amendments make mention of possible capacity concerns at the NCR but says that since any such measures, if they are ever used at all, will only be temporary and that it should not be a problem. This, of course, seems super nieve and does not take into account the frenzy of desperate consumers who will swamp the NCR and basically shut it down, should they ever be required to try implement such a process.
Even the name debt intervention makes you want to just give the NCR a call right now and ask if you qualify. If 10 000 curious people give them a call and spend a minute on the phone that will be: 20 working days of 1 minute phone calls to reception. If the number is 100 000 desperate consumers well, one can see the potential for disaster. The NCR will have to employ 10 receptionists to be able to field just those 1 minute phone calls within the month that any announcement of possible relief is announced…with people on hold and irritated etc.
So many South African consumers feel the need for help with their debt and would like to find out if there is a way they don’t have to pay what they owe due to the stress it is causing them. With around half of all credit users not being able to pay their debt on time there is a need for help. Fortunately, debt review and sequestration has offered consumers some relief in the past few years. The challenge is that Sequestration costs consumers too much due to the high court being involved (and lawyers wanting to make money) and Debt Review requires people to pay back all their debts slowly and not miss payments ever over many years. Most consumers struggle with this. Also due to poor cooperation by many credit providers legal fees are still (relatively) high for debt review when they don’t/should not need to be at all.
However, there still seems to be a need to assist low-income families to deal with their debt outside of the systems that the banks try to force on consumers in debt review. The Portfolio Committee must feel that perhaps these plans will help. It may, however, make more sense to simply expand the system that is already in place and allow the NCT to hear all sorts of debt review matters (that costs R200 only). This will use a working system to try address a problem rather than create a bottleneck process that will frustrate consumers and cripple the Regulator.
Download The Draft Bill
The Portfolio Committee have to first put the draft bill out for comments so that they can find out if there are any (1) objections (2) errors (3) changes needed (4) better solutions and (5) other general comments on the National Credit Act (which needs some amendments which still have not been made after many years).
All correspondence should be addressed to: Ms J Fubbs, Chairperson: PC on Trade and Industry and marked for the attention of: Mr A Hermans, the Committee Secretary. You can use these email addresses :