Risky business, but demand keeps Mel da Silva busy

28 November 2012

July 12, 2007

Mel da Silva is one of the few debt counsellors already registered under the National Credit Act. He offers his services with a partner from the up-market suburb of Fourways, north of Johannesburg.

“At the moment, it is a risky business,” Da Silva said of the provision of debt counselling services in the absence of a regulated tariff regime. But the lack of a structure has not held back business.

“Services are being offered based on the fee structure that was proposed by the Debt Counsellors’ Association of SA.

The fee regime, which has been presented to the National Credit Regulator and the department of trade and industry, includes an administration fee of R50; the first-month disbursement of the repayments that a consumer would have to make under the reorganised debt, subject to a cap of R3 420; and 5 percent of the subsequent monthly payments, capped at R150.

Da Silva said it took up to 16 hours to get information from a consumer and rearrange debt.

He added that the response from consumers to debt counselling had been favourable. “It’s been very busy.”

Typically, the heavily indebted are in living standards measures 5 to 10, but the location of the debt counsellor has a bearing on the type of clients who seek services.

Da Silva said a fully fledged debt counselling unit needed at least R65 000 to start operating.

He and his partner had invested 230 working hours.

Regulartor manages to fill only 70 of the 300 positions needed to help reduce the high rate of default judgments

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