Editor’s Note (issue#6)

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Our Editor’s Note

When Poland was invaded at the start of World War 2 the Polish soldiers had bicycles. The German soldiers had tanks.

In the lead up to the war, one country (Germany) had been investing in weaponry and the other had not. It led to a massive imbalance and Poland fell in just weeks. The spread of Covid-19 into the populous and the strain that is now been evidenced in the health care system feels similar.

With hospital staff being some of the most exposed people in the country we should not be surprised that even with protective gear they are getting sick themselves. This means less medical care staff to look after growing numbers of patients; patients who are now starting to fight over beds and oxygen.

Even with the delay that the lockdown provided, the health care system is not and has not been ready. They have been riding around on bicycles while Covid-19 has been rolling its tanks towards the SA border. What follows now is going to be very hard.

‘For many who face hard economic times, the legal debt collection process can feel like an invading army’

Often though, it is when we really see the extent of the problem that we are able to finally take the needed action (even if that may be slightly too late).

For many who face hard economic times, the legal debt collection process can feel like an invading army. Relentless letters, sms, whatsapps, call and even in person visits can batter and browbeat a consumer into having to choose between feeding their family and settling their debts. When the formal sector runs out of regulated credit many then turn to loan sharks in the informal sector, making the problem even worse.

‘Fortunately for South African consumers, the government has been preparing for the financial battle of our times’

Fortunately for South African consumers, the government has been preparing for the financial battle of our times well in advance – since back in 2007. We have even had a dry run of economic woe during the “Great Recession” of 2008 (Covid-19 will make that look like a picnic). We have the needed supplies ready. We have the processes and the staff. These economic frontline workers are Debt Counsellors, Attorneys and the Courts. This may be one invasion that we are actually ready for.

To those front line nurses, doctors and medical staff we say:

Thank you for your service!

Please stay safe and keep up the amazing work!

To those consumers who are now finding themselves wounded by job losses, half time shifts and pay cuts we say: Look to your local Debt Counsellors to help you through these tough times.

When the dust of Covid-19 settles in a few years, we will look back on this time with either regret or as the start of something truly significant. Perhaps it was in the midst of all this craziness that you began your journey to become debt free.

 

 

This article first appeared in Debtfree Magazine issue 6 of 2020