Debt Intervention Bill public hearing today

A public hearing on the proposed National Credit Amendment Bill (also known as the Debt Intervention Bill) will be taking place in East London and King William’s Town on February 7 and 8 respectively.

Hearings will run from 10am to 1pm and will take place in Gompo Hall, East London and War Memorial Hall, King William’s town.

The Debt Intervention Bill is meant to amend the National Credit Act (NCA), 2005 as amended by Act 19 of 2014 and is the result of a resolution taken by the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry. The main aim of the bill is to address over-indebtedness and allow for the introduction of debt relief for vulnerable consumers.

According to a statement released by the Eastern Cape provincial legislature, “unsecured and illegal lending has grown and is more prevalent in factory workers, miners, farm workers, and domestic workers”. Explanations for the increase include retrenchments, rise in the cost of living, and the loss of family breadwinners.

In addition to updated definitions, the Debt Intervention Bill will also introduce a number of new clauses to the NCA. For example, one proposed clause seeks to include debt intervention as a tool to “promote and advance social and economic welfare”. This clause will provide debt relief to consumers not covered by insolvency systems and debt administration.

Another proposed clause will require credit bureaux to accept information related to debt applications from the National Credit Regulator at no charge. This will help the National Credit Regulator to ensure that consumers who are able to repay should be able to do so.

The Eastern Cape provincial legislature urges members of the public to comment on the bill as it will affect them if it is passed. Verbal and written responses will be accepted.

Summaries of the bill as well as full copies in English, Afrikaans, and isiXhosa can be found here.

Alternatively, members of the public can contact portfolio committee on economic development, environmental affairs, and tourism committee coordinator Makabongwe Tyiwani at mtyiwani@ecleg.gov.za or 079-496-6490.

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