On 24 November 2017, the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry published its Draft National Credit Amendment Bill, 2018 (the Bill) in the Government Gazette. The Bill is generally referred to as the Debt Relief Bill as it proposes the new concept of ‘debt intervention’.
A South African citizen or permanent resident that is a natural person who, on the date of the submission of the application is a consumer under a credit agreement, may apply once to the National Credit Regulator (NCR) for a debt intervention, provided that the consumer:
- Does not receive an income or his or her average gross income during the preceding six months did not exceed R7 500 per month;
- Has no realisable assets;
- Is not under debt review; and
- The total unsecured debt owing to credit providers on 24 November 2017 did not exceed R50 000.
A debt intervention applicant includes a disabled person, a minor heading a household or a woman heading a household.
The Bill also expands the NCR’s functions to suspend credit agreements considered to be reckless.
The Bill further proposes a range of new criminal offences, which among others, includes the offence where a person gives him or herself out as a credit provider, without being registered with the NCR. It is proposed that the perpetrators of these offences, be liable to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or both a fine and such imprisonment or, if the convicted person is not a natural person, to a fine not exceeding 10% of its annual turnover or R1 million, whichever amount is the greater.
The Bill also creates an offence where the perpetrator is a company, the directors and prescribed officers of the company who, knowingly, was a party to the contravention is guilty of an offence and subject to the same penalties as if the director or prescribed officer committed the offence in person.
Members of the public are invited to submit written comments on the Bill on or before 15 January 2018 by directing it to the Committee Secretaries, Mr A Hermans and Mr T Madima:
- By email to firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
- By post to Ms J Fubbs, Chairperson: Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, Attention: Mr A Hermans, W/S 3/95, 3rd Floor, 90 Plein Street, Cape Town, 8000; or
- By telephone to Mr A Hermans (021) 403 3776 or 083 709 8482; Mr T Madima (021) 403 3822 or 083 709 8419
Please click here to download a copy of the Bill.