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COVID-19 Block Exemption for Banking Sector Regulations Published

March 24, 2020

Department of Trade and Industry

2020 COVID-19 Block Exemption for the Banking Sector Regulations are now in place.

The trade and industry department published the regulations in Government Gazette 43127.

The regulations were drawn up in terms of section 10(10) read with section 78(1) of the Competition Act.

The aim of the exemption is to strengthen government’s programs designed to fight COVID-19 following the declaration of a National State of Disaster.

The purpose of the regulations is to exempt a category of agreements or practices between Banks, Banking Association of South Africa and/or Payments Association of South Africa from the application of sections 4 and 5 of the Act in response to the declaration of COVID-19 pandemic as a national disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act.

The category of agreements or practices exempted includes the payment system and debtor and credit management.

As regards debtor and credit management, agreements or practices focus on payment holidays and debt relief, limitations set on asset repossessions and the extension of credit lines to individuals and businesses subject to financial stress.

Representations on the regulations are invited within 14 days of the date of publication.

The regulations come into force on the date of publication.

Meanwhile, national treasury has called on South Africans to forward suggestions on how best treasury can deal with the COVID-19 virus and how all South Africans can work together to overcome the virus.