NCA Amendments – Where are they now?
Over the last few months, there have been heavy discussions about amendments planned for the National Credit Act (NCA).
Courts across the country have pointed out that the NCA (already amended in the past) has many loopholes and gaps that need to be addressed. Thus the industry was very happy when it was announced that new amendments were being drafted and calls for submissions were made. The industry, however, was in for a harsh shock when they realised that all their suggestions were basically being ignored in order for the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry to rather introduce a new debt relief mechanism for the unemployed.
The new process called debt intervention was shaped off the current (sometimes problematic) debt review sections in the NCA and allows the National Credit Regulator to offer debt review to consumers with little or no income. These consumers would potentially be helped to not pay towards their debts for several years or pay a little should the NCR be able to figure out if they have funds to do so.
‘Many are wondering if the entire matter was just a political stunt to try gather more votes before the election’
Sadly none of the actual critical issues in the NCA were addressed in the amendments and the industry has to continue for another few years without any help fixing the legal side of the process. The one small glimmer of help in the amendments was the ability for courts to adjust interest rates which was strangely missing previously.
Where are the Amendments Now?
There has been some confusion about whether the entire debt intervention amendments will ever happen as they seem to be unconstitutional (they take away the banks property – debt). Many are wondering if the entire matter was just a political stunt to try gather more votes before the election similar to the previous debt information “amnesty” which left consumers confused for years afterwards.
‘the National Credit Amendment Bill has been passed by the National Council of Provinces’
Parliament has this month publically confirmed that the National Credit Amendment Bill has been passed by the National Council of Provinces plenary. This means it has now been sent on to the President Cyril Ramaphosa for assent.
The President’s office will consider if the amendments are constitutional and then could potentially sign the Act into law. Many experts say that this would be most advantageous if done before the pending elections in May 2019.