Debt Intervention Regulations

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When Should We Expect Debt Intervention Regulations?

With NCR provided debt review (Debt Intervention) now being signed into law people are chomping at the bit to make use of the system to address their debt issues. Before that can happen the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will have to provide regulations on how the process will work.

These regulations will also hopefully cover other associated issues such as how couples who are married in community of property will be affected. Will both members of the couple have to sign up for the process(probably)? Will all members of the family or households income and joint debt be considered (for the R50 000 limit)? Will the R50 000 debt limit be the principle debt, outstanding debt or total debt including future fees etc?

It has been reported that the National Credit Regulator (NCR) who have been tasked with offering lower-income earners with “free” debt review have submitted plans to the DTI on how they would like to offer the service. It has also been said that the DTI has already been working on new regulations for the recent National Credit Act amendments.

2 Years?

Some experienced Debt Counsellors from the National Debt Counsellors Association (NDCA) are saying that it is not unrealistic to expect such regulations to take up to two years. This might especially be true given that the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) has said that they will have to take some provisions of the NCA Amendments to court. They are concerned that they cannot responsibly lend their clients savings to other consumers if there is a risk those funds will not be returned or could eventually be extinguished. Such court matters could take a while.

All this points to a reasonable waiting period for the DTI to publish well thought out and final regulations. If such regulations were rushed through then they too could face legal challenges even though they might initially move the process along in the face of the predictable public pressure.