The National Credit Amendment Bill‚ which will provide debt relief to poor and low-income workers‚ has been adopted by the portfolio committee on trade and industry and will now be considered by the National Assembly.
Committee chairperson Joanmariae Fubbs said in a statement on Friday that the Bill for the first time “provides measures to deal with the debt of those earning R7‚500 or less … who have no other effective or efficient options to extract themselves from over-indebtedness”.
The Bill also:
• Encourages and enforces responsible lending and borrowing;
• The applicants will go through the National Consumer Tribunal;
• Credit providers can participate until the final order is given by the tribunal;
• Magistrates will have the authority to deal with illegal lenders – failing to register as a lender is now an offence; and• Regulations will provide for credit life insurance on all loans of more than six months and less than or equal to R50‚000.
“Essentially this Bill addresses a critical gap in the current legislation and that is to provide urgent debt relief to people who are not currently covered by the insolvency systems‚ which include sequestration or administration‚" Fubbs said. "Currently debt counsellors do not provide a service for people earning less than or equal to R7‚500 as this is not ‘cost-effective’.
The Bill will be debated on September 12.