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The annual Debt review Awards gala was held on the 20th of October 2023 in Woodmead, Gauteng. The show was live streamed to thousands of people across South Africa via YouTube.

The Debtfree Magazine team assisted others in organising and hosting the event. Here are some of the highlights from the event.


Even before the Debt Review Awards Gala, Debt Counsellors got to enjoy a linked event with ABSA.

On the 19th of October 2023, ABSA held an in person workshop in Johannesburg at the ABSA Towers.

Around 80 Debt Counsellors go to meet and spend time with the entire ABSA team. It is always good to put a face to the name in emails or a voice on the phone.

After some time getting to know each other, it was time to dive into various procedural matters and Debt Counsellors were walked through the various steps of ABSA’s process. Along the way there were many questions from those newer in the industry and those more experienced.

Much of the discussion focused on ABSA’s new portal which Debt Counsellors can use to push and pull information from. If you would like to know more about the Portal ABSA are happy to share information about how you can get the most out of this exciting piece of software.

Thank you to ABSA for making their venue available and being so active in engaging with Debt Counsellors and thanks for the lunch and refreshments too!

The DC | CP Meet Up

On the afternoon of the 19th, some guests then made their way to Nutun’s Sandton offices where they joined around 100 other Debt Counsellors, credit providers, PDAs, attorneys, representatives from the NCT and others for the DC|CP Meet Up.

The idea was once again to allow those who work in different cities across SA to get together in person and spend some time getting to know each other better. The beautiful Nutun building and the spacious auditorium allowed all who attended plenty space to dive deep into various industry hot topics.


First Carl de Villiers of Nutun welcomed everyone and assured them of Nutun’s commitment to the debt review process. Then Anila Pillaye who heads up the debt review team made an exciting announcement in regard to Nutun’s brand new portal. Guests were given a preview of what the system can do. It is designed with both credit providers (who can use it to manage their debt review matters) and Debt Counsellors (to access information) in mind.

After this, there was an enthusiastic panel discussion, featuring various industry role players who lead a busy discussion, into such topics as possible changes to Debt Counsellors fees (in particular the restructuring fee times) and the real cost of legal work for those in debt review. There was discussion about insurance and the risk to the industry due to the long outstanding update to PDA fees. With so many key industry people in attendance it was interesting to hear what is really going on in the industry.

Special Thanks to NUTUN for hosting us at their beautiful venue and providing refreshments and snacks. We all had a great time.

Visitors Meeting & After Awards Dinners

Guests who travelled in to be at the event also had the opportunity to spend some additional time together on the evening before and of the Awards Gala.

Everyone had a good time chatting and sharing their “war stories” at the restaurant spots.

Special Thanks To Eddie of DCCP for helping look after our visitors in the evenings. It was a great way to spend the evenings.

The Awards Industry PreShow

The Gala

Held on a Friday afternoon, 200 guests from across all parts of the industry gathered in person to enjoy the Awards Gala. We had representatives from the NCR, NCT, the various PDAs, the various banks and large credit providers and lots of local and Top 10 Debt Counsellors.

Guest were treated to a little bit of a welcome scare by our resident human shaped bush. Be sure to catch some of the online clips of guests getting a skrik on our social media channels.

Online Guests

This year the YouTube stream attracted more guests than ever with offices across the country tuning in for a little Friday afternoon fun. Many people got dressed up and enjoyed some snack and were able to be part of all the action this year.

Ai yai yai yai yai

In a bit of an experiment with the effectiveness of Large Language Models commonly referred to as Ai these days, the opening words of the event were written (with some detailed prompts of course) by ChatGPT. These words were then fed into an Ai Avatar creator and Ai Zak was on hand to both amuse and terrify the guests.


After a warm welcome to the event from Verushka Gilbert of the DTIC the audience were commended for their ongoing efforts by Debtfree Editor and Debt Review Awards Founder Mr Zak King (the real one).

Then it was time to hear from consumers who had been through the process with the help of clients of Pioneer Debt Solutions.


Next up was an exciting debt relief announcement by Nutun’s Capital Data team. Having shortlisted several clients who were over 60 they announced 3 clients whose debt with them would be settled in full. This has resulted in the saving of thousands and thousands of rands for these consumers who have loyally been sticking to the debt repayments for some time.

Congrats to Ms Audrey C (with National Debt Advisors)

Congrats Mr Ronnie B (with Liberty 42)

Congrats Mr Harry B (with DebtBusters)

Their Debt Counsellors have been informed and arrangements have been made to assist these clients move closer to being debt free.

Mr Trevor Bailey of the National Consumer Tribunal was one of the key speakers at the event and touted many of the new developments at the NCT which will make Debt Counsellors lives easier (incl a payment gateway and mobile phone access to their system).  Trevor pointed to how the Awards are a testimony to the professionalism and service that is being offered to consumers by Debt Counsellors, PDAs, the Regulator and credit providers.

Moving to the “state of the Industry” address, Mr Saishen Krishnan “SK” of Hyphen PDA broke down some of the key industry goings on. He focused on several key improvements across the industry that benefit, consumers, credit providers and Debt Counsellors. Certain key changes to payments come into effect during October and these will greatly help the industry. SK has been at the forefront of pushing for many of these changes so it was nice to hear him speak first hand.

While he did touch on ongoing challenges the PDA face (like fees and defaults) the speech was optimistic and focused on how far the industry has come. PDAs now distribute a whopping R1.4 Billion a month from consumers back to their credit providers. Amazing. Well done to CollectNet, DC Partner PDA, Hyphen PDA and iPDA for their hard work on behalf of consumers.

Associated Awards

Each year the Debt Review Awards works with a number of industry role players to recognise efforts made in the industry.

First up was Slipstream Technology and Mr Scott van Staaden.

Scott explained the background to the Technology Adoption Award and how it is based on both Debt Counsellor and Consumer use of technology (particularly the DReX system which is housed on the SWITCH).

This year the winner of the Slipstream Technology Adoption Award went to PayPlan Solutions.

Next were the ONE Significant Contribution to the Industry Awards. Here two special Red Piggy Bank Awards are given to those individuals making a significant contribution to the debt review industry.

The audience were very happy to hear CJ of ONE announce that DCASA’s Vanessa Johst was the winner of the Significant Contribution to the Debt Review Process Award. She is well known as a hard working and generous person and helps organise all things DCASA including the AGM and Annual Conference.

The Debtfree team were very proud that our editor Mr Zak King was recognised and received the ONE Significant Contribution to the Debt Review Industry Award this year. It was extra sweet that this happened at the event that he was helping run on the day. Well done Zak!

NEW Category & New Award

For many years the legal side of debt review has not been recognised during the Awards even though the legal fraternity (for both consumers and credit providers) are hard at work daily handling debt review matters.



This year Mr Benay Sager of the National Debt Counsellors Association and Head of DebtBusters handed out two certificates of recognition. The first went to DL Attorneys (who represent Debt Counsellors and consumers) and the second to Kemp & Associates who represent credit providers. It is hoped that one day there may be Awards in this new category.

In a somewhat emotional speech Mr Sager then announced a new Award. The Nousheen Pore Award. Nousheen was a well known attorney who was vibrant and a real mentor to many in the industry and the Award in her name is aimed at encouraging others to do the same. Decided by an industry expert panel the very first Nousheen Pore Award went to Cornel van Heerden of VHT Attorneys.

Steve Rosenberg of the Debt Review Awards team presented the worlds longest and most boring speech explaining all the ins and outs of the Awards process. While most people fell asleep during this part, some stayed glued to the screens as he performed a rather cheeky progressive outfit change during the speech starting in a suit and tie transitioning to a bowtie and looking far more casual. Sneaky, but we see you Steve!

There was also the chance to acknowledge our Auditors for the afternoon (and whole process) Moore SA, and in particular Mr Clifford Voux.

Our thanks go out to Mr Barry Fuchs of Moore SA for his ongoing help and advice with the audit process each year. Thank you Moore SA.

PDA Awards

This year DC Partner PDA were very excited to take home both awards in the PDA section being recognised by both credit providers and Debt Counsellors.

Credit Provider Awards

ABSA went home with two Golden Piggy Bank Awards and a Certificate of recognition this year. They scooped up the Most Improved Debt Review Department certificate, the Award for Vehicle Finance Credit Provider and Banks: Secured Credit

Other winners on the evening were Consumer Friend, Old Mutual, FinChoice, Nedbank and taking the Highest Rated Debt Review Department was African Bank.

Debt Counsellor Awards

55 Different Debt Counselling practices of all sizes were recognised in this year’s process. These were the hard working Top 10 in the Boutique, Small, Medium, Large and National Categories and the Top 5 in the National + Category.

This year the very largest category (traditionally just called “National”) was split for the first time since 2016 into (a) National Debt Counselling Practice and (b) the new National + Category.

The highest rated practices this year were:

Boutique| Debt Solutions

Small| Master Your Money

Medium | Debt Fresh

Large| Credit Matters

National | Octogen

National + | DebtBusters

Congratulations to all those recognised!

Time To Chat

After the live stream ended the guests at the venue enjoyed some delicious snacks and some time to mingle and network.



The organisers want to thank the staff and owners of The Tryst for hosting the event at their wonderful venue.


We want to thank all our Sponsors and Supporters who helped make the process possible during 2022- 2023. Your support and contributions make it possible to not only run the process throughout the entire year but also to organise the Debt Review Awards Gala and Online Show.