Debt Review Awards Gala
The 2014 Debt Review Awards (an industry awards program) was hosted in Cape Town on Saturday 19th of July 2014. Guests from all over the country arrived in their finest to walk the red carpet and mingle with Government officials, Payment Distribution Agencies, consumer activists, attorneys, consumers, the press and Debt Counsellors.
Once Guests had run the gauntlet of media at the entrance they entered the historic building at #6 Spin Street, opposite the “old Slave tree” location in Cape Town’s CBD at the foot of the Parliament Buildings. The Gala Speeches began just after 6pm with a word from Zak King (Debtfree Editor) who welcomed all to the first annual Debt Review Awards.
Ms Nomsa Motshegare NCR CEO spoke next and discussed various facts and figures about debt review and hinted at new regulations that the NCR and DTI are working on. Next Ms Terblanche, Chairperson of the National Consumer Tribunal spoke about the growing number of applications for consent orders (when all parties to the debt review agree on the plan to repay the debt over time) at the NCT.
Both Ms Motshegare and Terblanche expressed their support for the Awards process and said that the industry needed a way to commend hard work by role players working to make debt review a success.
Next Wikus Olivier of ADCAP spoke about their services which allow Debt Counsellors to offer expanded services to consumers and focus on the counselling aspect of the process and not the ever increasing administrative burdens.
Chris Van der Straaten spoke next about some of the challenges that PDAs face and the huge number of transactions they process each month (nearly 1 million transactions). He pointed to statistics which show that the number of consumer entering the process continues to grow.
Both ADCAP and Hyphen were event sponsors.
Public Voting Results
Over the last few weeks consumers and those working in the industry have been able to vote online, via sms, email and #hashtagging in social media for the favourite PDA, Credit Provider and Debt Counsellors. Sebastien Alexanderson and Keegan o’Connell handed out the first Debt Review Award (ever) in the public voting category: Favourite PDA to Hyphen Technology
Favourite Credit Providers
Mr Price, Wesbank and FNB walked away with Golden Piggys.
Favourite Credit Providers
Chris Van der Straaten then announced the three Debt Counsellor results (for Small, Medium and Large Debt Counselling firms). Ancil Van Heerden (Small/Boutique), Cape Town based Consumer Debt Help (Med.) and DebtSafe (large) were the happy winners.
Consumers now Debt Free
The evening then turned to the happy event of consumers receiving clearance certificates from their Debt Counsellors. DebtSafe and Credit Matters presented certificates to consumers who also received generous gifts from Consumer Friend (clothing vouchers), Debtfree DIGI (spa treatments) and DCM (a very generous voucher for a large sum at Woolworths). The audience was moved to see those who have successfully come through the process some in as little as three years.
The Interval allowed those attending to grab a bite to eat and spend some time visiting the sponsors while the winners were interviewed by the media. Guest also got to rummage through their gift bags and network.
Session Two – Industry Panel Awards
Nedbank’s Denise Hartley spoke briefly about how it is great to see all parts of the industry working together and how Nedbank are dedicated to making debt review happen. She was followed by the ever amusing Christo Hattingh (sporting his new home made” S5″ mobile phone) and Lynne Loizakos of FNB. Lynne got the last word in despite Christo’s best efforts.
Industry Panel Awards
The second session focused on the results of the expert industry panels deliberations and research. Over several months companies and associations had submitted candidates for consideration which had been narrowed down to a select few nominees in June 2014. It was stressed that the nominees are not perfect but have shown recent improvement or effort in making debt review work.
Adri de Bruyn (of the Alliance of Professional Debt Counsellors) and local Debt Counsellors Association of South Africa Chairman Reinhard Pettenburger announced the various winners in the Industry Panel Awards Credit Provider Categories.
Winners included Izwe Loans (Micro Finance), Mr Price (retail/loans), Consumer Friend (Large/retail), Wesbank (vehicle) and FNB (Banks). the results were met with cheers, laughter and applause.
Payment Distribution – DC Partner, Hyphen and NPDA
The next section focused in on Payment Distribution. With only three companies in the running it was a hotly contested category. The National Payment Distribution Agency (NPDA) walked away with three golden piggies while DC Partner and Hyphen received a golden piggy apiece. By this stage the audience were very vocal shouting their support and applauding the winners.
Event Sponsors ONE insurance spoke briefly about amongst other things their 9 month retrenchment benefits and discussed how they cover consumers credit for amounts lower than the proposed (soon to be announced) industry cap is.
Then it was on to the last Category: the three awards in the Debt Counselling section.
It fell to Lynne Liozakos and Christo Hattingh of FNB to make the announcements. In the Small/Boutique Debt Counsellor category Paarl Attorney and Debt Counsellor Adri de Bruyn walked off with the golden piggy, while in the medium sized practice category KZN based Philippa Davies was the winner.
Event organisers Debtfree then launched their Special Print Edition of Debtfree magazine entitled: Benefits of Debt Review. Copies of the magazine and packs were supplied to those attending. The Digital version of the magazine can be read this coming week here on www.debtfreedigi.co.za.
This brought the evening to a close as the guest mingled and said the farewells.
MORE: Visit Facebook to see all the guests in the finery and see more photographs of the winners.