On 30 August 2018, the National Credit Amendment Bill was referred to parliament for signing after undergoing a thorough deliberation process allowing industry and the public a chance to comment on the proposed debt intervention mechanism.
The amendments to the National Credit Bill, include changes to several sections allowing for debt intervention and/or debt relief options for consumers under certain financial situations.
The purpose of the Bill was to enact change in the spending and borrowing habits of an over-indebted society who do not have sufficient resources to relive their situation. Credit bureau data on South Africans from Compuscan shows that of the 30 363 792 credit-active South Africans, 16% are in arrears (for 3 or more months) and 2.9% have judgments against their names. The Bill further protects consumers from lenders, who may be liable for criminal prosecution for contravening the Act.
However, by imposing monetary caps on debt owed and clear definitions of debt intervention applicants and the appropriate situations under which they may apply for intervention, the Bill protects lenders from applicants abusing the right to apply for intervention.
It is important for credit providers to be compliant with the National Credit Amendment Bill, once enacted.