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National Credit Amendment Bill Tabled

September 7, 2018

Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry

The National Credit Amendment Bill has been tabled in parliament.

The bill was drafted by the portfolio committee on trade and industry.

The proposed legislation is designed to provide debt interventions for low income, over-indebted consumers.

It was published for comment at the end of 2017. Hearings on the bill were held in parliament in January 2018.

The bill aims to amend the National Credit Act of 2005 so as to:

• provide for debt intervention;
• insert new definitions;
• include the evaluation and referral of debt intervention applications as a function of the National Credit Regulator and to provide for the creation of capacity within the National Credit Regulator and logistical arrangements to execute this function;
• include the consideration of a referral as a function of the Tribunal;
• provide for the recordal of information related to debt intervention;
• require a debt counsellor to investigate whether an agreement is reckless;
• provide for a court to enquire into and either refer a matter for debt intervention or make an order related to debt intervention;
• provide for a Magistrate’s Court and the Tribunal to determine the maximum interest, fees or other charges when re-arranging debt and for guidance to be prescribed in this regard;
• provide for an application for debt intervention and the evaluation thereof;
• provide for the Tribunal to re-arrange a consumer’s obligations and make an order in respect of an unlawful credit agreement;
• provide for orders related to debt intervention and rehabilitation in respect of such an order;
• provide for mandatory credit life insurance to be prescribed;
• provide for offences related to debt intervention, prohibited credit practices, selling or collecting prescribed debt and related to failure to register as required by the Act;
• provide for measures when an offence is committed by a person other than a natural person;
• provide for penalties in relation to the newly created offences;
• provide for the Tribunal to change or rescind an order under certain circumstances;
• require the Minister to make regulations related to a financial literacy programme;
• provide in a transitional provision for the application of this Amendment Act to credit agreements entered into before its commencement; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

Meanwhile, national treasury recently briefed the committee on the bill.

Treasury declared its support for the bill and described it “as a learning experience for strengthening South Africa’s insolvency regime.”

The bill will now be tabled in the national assembly for the second reading debate.