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Debt Counsellors

Back to National Credit Act

The role of the Debt Counsellor has been introduced

  • To be a Debt Counsellor you must:

    • Be a natural person older than 18

    • Have Grade 12 or Level 4

    • Have completed a debt counseling course

    • Have two years working experience

    • Consumer protection, complaints resolution/legal or paralegal/accounting or financial services

    • A natural person with the following would be excluded:

      • Adverses or judgments
      • Listed on excluded person registers
      • An unrehabilitated insolvent
      • Criminal conviction for fraud/theft
    • Application fee not more than R20
      • Consumers may apply to a Debt Counselor to be declared over-indebted
      • Consumer pays an application fee
        • Debt Counselor advises all credit providers and bureau on receipt of the application within 5 days of receipt
      • Debt Counselor sources the necessary information from all parties
      • Debt Counselor makes a determination
        • If it is found that the consumer is not over-indebted
        • The application is dismissed
      • If the client may struggle with repayments in future
        • Credit providers are approached for assistance in rearranging the debt
      • If the client is over-indebted
        • Re-arrangement is proposed to the credit provider
          • If the proposed re-arrangement is not accepted, the Debt Counselor may approach the Magistrates Court to have the debt re-arranged
          • If the parties are unhappy with the decision of the Magistrates Court the matter may follow the normal appeals process (High Court; Appeals Court)
  • If the Debt Counselor fails to make a recommendation within 60 days

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    • The credit provider may demand a determination or ask that the review be stopped
  • During the period of debt re-arrangement no further legal action may be taken

Credit Bureau The Minister of Trade and Industry has published regulations on how information held by the credit bureau must be reviewed, verified, corrected and removed by 1 June 2007:

  • Adverse for debt < R500
  • Debt with no monthly installment involved and dormant for 24 months or more as at 1 Sept 2006
  • Judgments < R500 - except if two or more unpaid judgments on client's records
  • Judgments < R500 if older than 18 months and < 2 unpaid judgments
  • Judgment < R50 000 shows on record on 1 Sept 2006 and is fully paid by 1 June 2007 (on track to be)

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