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The Latest Debtfree DIGI

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dc's take concerns to Parliment

On Tuesday 28 June 2011 a small group of concerned Debt Counsellors met with three Members of Parliament.

The delegation from the forum presently called Concerned Debt Counsellors consisted of Adv. Anton Barkenhuizen (E Cape), Adv. Beatrice de Beer (kzn) and Simon Barkenhuizen (former Chairperson DCASA Western Cape- now member of the Western Cape region forum committee).

The meeting took place at Parliament in the morning and the discussion centered on the current issues facing the Debt Counselling industry and shortcomings within the NCA. Possible solutions were discussed and the delegation was told the exciting news that the DTI are indeed investigating the current proposed regulations (and further possible regulations) as well as possible future wording changes in the NCA itself.

The Forum have been invited to future meetings with government including the Minister.

Debtfree DIGI will keep you updated on any new developments.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Legal Workshop Cape Town

You are invited to attend a workshop presented by Brett Carnegie and Glin Loggenberg on the 1st July 2011 from 9:00am to 11:00am at Suite 17GB, Waverley Business Park, Mowbray.

The workshop will analyse the recent judgments of the Supreme Court of Appeal and the impact on the Consumer and Debt Counsellor. The workshop promises to be interactive and informative.

Please inform anyone who may be interested to attend.

Nibbles will be served.
RSVP: Derelda Anthony on 021 447 0332 by 28th June 2011.

Brett Carnegie Attorneys

Tel No.: +27 (21) 4470332
Fax No.: +27 (21) 4470338

Friday, June 24, 2011

Debt Counsellor Fees

DCASA has recently notified all its members of the following change to the guidline for Debt Counselling Fees:

Debt Counselling Fees have not been reviewed since 2009 and DCASA has engaged with the NCR and DTI on an ongoing basis with the aim to finalise the fee review process. The need for a fee review was confirmed by an independent study conducted by the NCR in 2010 which concluded that Debt Counselling is not profitable based on the current fee structure.
The ongoing engagement with the NCR on the Debt Counselling Fee issue was based on the premise that Consumers should be protected from possible exploitation and/or overcharging by Debt Counsellors and that the fee should allow for the provision of a professional service based on acceptable standards by Debt Counsellors.
The proposed fee structure was referred to the NCR Board for approval and the Board requested the publication of the fees as well as consultation with the Competition Commission. The proposed fee structure was published in the Government Gazette and the NCR met with the Competition Commission. The NCR has received a formal reply from the Competition Commission and has subsequently informed DCASA that the matter will be referred to the next NCR Board meeting.
DCASA has not received a copy of the letter from the Competition Commission addressed to the NCR but instead DCASA made contact with the Competition Commission to obtain clarity on this crucial matter.

The position is as follows:
In terms of the Competition Act of 1998 restrictive horizontal practices are prohibited. Section 4(1) of the Competition Act states the following:
Any agreement between or concerted practice by, firms, or a decision by an association of firms is prohibited if:

(a) It is between parties in an horizontal relationship and it has the effect of substantially preventing or lessening competition in the market, unless a party to the agreement, concerted practice, or decision can prove that any technological, efficiency or other pro-competitive, gain resulting from it outweighs that effect”

From the abovementioned it is clear that DCASA cannot issue any Debt Counselling Guideline nor can anybody control the fee structure unless enabling legislation allows for this practice. For this reason DCASA withdraws the current Debt Counselling Fee Guidelines with immediate effect. DCASA has informed the NCR accordingly on 22 June 2011.

The NCR can issue Debt Counselling Fee Guidelines and control the implementation of the Fee Structure via the PDA’s and other mechanisms if enabling provisions are in place in the National Credit Act.

DCASA urges all Debt Counsellors to note that the provisions of the National Credit Act as well as the voluntary measures that are complementary to the provisions of the National Credit Act as amplified in the Code of Conduct for Debt Counsellors remain in force.


What does this mean?
It means that DC's can set their own fees for the moment.
Consumers can then decide who has the best rates

Thursday, June 23, 2011

ABSA - changes in email addresses

ABSA have announced additions to their communication channels and the changes in their engagement model which supercedes previously communicated ABSA Debt Review points of entry.

The expansion of communication channels will allow for queries to be directed to a specific channel, where they will be attended to by the respective dedicated team.

ABSA urge you to utilize the correct email addresses for your relevant debt review related query/ request.

Please note that the new channels created are set to align our processes with industry developments.

The mail box is solely to cater for the transfer of consumers from one Debt Counsellor to another.

The is ONLY for urgent court applications.
Please keep track of all your submissions to us, by retaining the automatic responses with a reference number ie [EC: 62358AAE] which you will receive when sending an email to the communicated channels.

ABSA have noted in their recently conducted survey, that the previous escalation process was not fully effective. To also allow for business continuity, they have created a generic email address for your escalations to which will allow for your escalations to be managed timeously (hopefully)

New W Cape DCASA committee officially elected

At a regular meeting of DCASA western Cape held at Parow Cape Town the 11 members attending elected a new committee of 6 members to represent the DCASA counsellors in the region.

The meeting also discussed the recent Collett SCA judgment as well as section 129 negotiations with creditors.


Stay tuned for official comment from DCASA regarding developments regarding the matter of Debt Counselling Fees.

Is your Debt Wise program not working today?

Debt Wise has published this comment on communication issues being experienced by users of the software that interfaces with the DC partner PDA:

Dear Users

The Debt Wise Program is currently experiencing difficulties due to a power failure at MTN Business.

MTN Business controls one of the main routing paths in South Africa, and as a result the power failure has affected multiple web hosting companies including Hetzner which hosts the Debt Wise Program.

We appreciate your understanding in this matter and we apologize for any inconvenience that the following situation might cause.

Support Team

Debt Wise Solutions (Pty) Ltd - 2008/020923/07
Debt Restructuring and Distribution Software

Telephone: +27 44 884 1698
Technical Support Extensions: 330


Collett asks Constitutional Court leave to appeal SCA decision

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Concerned DC forum gets more members

On Wed, 22nd June a group of concerned DC's met in Cape Town to discuss the way forward for Debt Counselling in SA.

Of the more than 30 attendees over half have so far joined the online forum at:

It is anticipated that soon all attendees and more will join this online version of the forum and share views strategies etc. with one another.

The forum may at some future time become an association or may continue in its present roll as a means of sharing expertise in dealing with current DC issues.

At the meeting a group of volunteers stepped forward to assist in identifying key areas that need attention and will present these topics for comment to the forum.

The group has no acting chairperson though future meetings will have an invigilator or chairperson to organize the structure and flow of the meetings.

A nice spirit was evidenced and the only comments about DCASA were that there were going to be no comments about DCASA at the meetings.

Other such meetings are scheduled for other regions of SA over the next few weeks. Ultimately it is hoped that the various area forums will be able to communicate together to share even more expertise.

Concern for disadvantaged consumers and bad press for the industry were also discussed.

Help the DTI

Would you like to help the DTI in regard to possible future changes to the NCA?

Then you might be interested to know that Carol Motlapema is currently conducting research on the National Credit Act.

Please assist her by letting her know which sections of the National Credit Act can
be amended and the reasons why you feel those sections should be amended.

Your comments can be directed to:

Carol Motlapema

Ph. 0123941824.

DC comment on recent 129 Ruling

As a debt counsellor, I was recently harshly humbled to realise how na├»ve I was to believe that the National Credit Act would be true to its stated aim, viz. to protect over-indebted consumers and “provide for debt-reorganisation in cases of over-indebtedness”. Instead, some of the finest legal minds in the Supreme Court have made it a relatively simple process for credit providers to have credit agreements excluded from the debt review process, thereby keeping over-indebted consumers firmly at their mercy.

My naivete was such that I actually believed that Section 129 of the NCA, read in conjunction with Section 130, ensured that consumers would receive fair warning that credit providers intended to take legal action, and would also be advised to see a debt counsellor in order to remedy the situation before the intended legal action was taken. But no, these fine legal minds have ruled that no matter how consumers respond to their warning (even if they take the helpful advice offered and see a debt counsellor within the prescribed period), that debt counsellor is not allowed to help them, as legal action is deemed to have started as soon as that Section 129 letter was sent. Makes it a bit difficult to reorganise debt in cases of over-indebtedness, doesn’t it?

How do we as debt counsellors respond to this ruling? For me, throwing my hands up in despair and closing my business is not an option. That leaves a few approaches :

• Firstly, check whether the Section 129 letter has been sent as per the prescribed methods allowed by the Act for service of documents i.e. registered mail or delivery by sheriff (Section 168 of the NCA). If not, there’s no proof that it was ever sent, never mind received by the consumer, so the relevant credit agreement can’t legitimately be excluded from debt review.

• If it was legitimately sent, I would still list the credit agreement on the Form 17.1 and send it to the credit provider in question. Why not let them just confirm that it is indeed excluded? If they send a Certificate of Balance stating that it’s included, isn’t it a bit unfair to later oppose proposals on the basis that it’s excluded?

• If, after all that, they confirm that the credit agreement is excluded, include it in proposals anyway. It’s still up to the credit provider to oppose its inclusion in court.

• Should the credit provider oppose in court, discuss with your attorneys whether they’re prepared to bring a Section 85 application immediately, requesting the magistrate that the credit agreement be handed over to a debt counsellor and therefore included in the application. Obviously it would be advisable to ensure that proposed repayment of this debt is reasonable i.e. that it’s being paid within a reasonable term, at the original interest rate as agreed between the consumer and the credit provider.

• Finally, should all of these measures fail and the credit agreement must be excluded, provision must be made in the client’s budget for them to make an arrangement for repayment. The amount will obviously depend on the size of the outstanding debt.

After thinking my way through this process, I’m even more confused as to whether the South African legal system actually intends us as debt counsellors to help over-indebted consumers. Despite that, I look back at all the consumers we have helped, houses and cars we have saved, and credit providers who are receiving payments that they otherwise most likely would not have received, and I will do my best to press on and keep providing that service (no matter how hard the Supreme Court makes it).

Submitted by DC.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Standard Bank leads the way in "terminating" debt review participation

It seems that since the recent FRB v Collett case Standard Bank are leading the way in sending out notification that they do not want their internal debt review department to deal with negotiations and payment arrangements with consumers. Std have sent out hundreds if not thousands of letters to consumers and DC's saying they are doing what is called an 86(10) and do not want the consumer under debt review.

These letters do not end a debt review but they do mean that the account in question will probably get handed to legal or collections to be dealt with.

DC's have unanimously said they will now help consumers do what is called a 86(11) application in response to any enforcement attempts by creditors such as Std bank in these matters.

These matters will end up in front of a magistrate who will then have to decide if the matter is put back into debt review or not. Most DC's feel confident that 90% of these matters will be put back.

Many consumers are concerned that banks such as Standard though saying they want to "help consumers" at the highest levels in reality do not want to help clients in difficult situations. These consumers are now encouraging others not to bank with such organisations.

Others are saying that soon the banks might be able to close their debt review departments and let their legal and collection departments do things as before.

This will, of course, mean that many employees of banks such as Standard Bank will now find themselves out of a job and in need of debt review.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


DCASA hereby invite you to attend the DCASA Western Cape Branch meeting that will take place Thursday, the 23rd June 2011 at 11H00 at Parow Golf Club.

At the meeting of the 7th June, it was decided that the Western Cape members will elect a new Branch Committee at the next meeting.

Kindly note the following:

1. The Completed nomination form, should be sent to before the 22nd June 2011.

2. Any member who cannot attend, may give their proxy to another member to vote on their behalf.

3. Only DCASA members may participate in the voting procedure.

We encourage all members to make themselves available for nomination.

Kindly confirm attendance to the meeting no later than close of business, Wednesday, the 22nd June 2011 at

Invitation to DC's in the Western Cape

Dear Debt Counsellors

Meeting to be held at Parow Golf club 12h00 Wednesday 22 June 2011.

Meeting Facilitator: Simon H Barkenhuizen


Forum's name finalized;

Committee members;

Vision of Forum;

Feedback on DTI Meeting.

All Debt Counsellor's are welcome, kindly RSVP as soon as possible.

You have been invited to join Forum

RSVP to:

Credit interest rates limits

The amount of interest credit providers are allowed to charge for different types of credit under the National Credit Act varies.

Here are some of the current limits:
(This is with the repo rate currently at 5.5%. )

On a mortgage agreement credit providers can charge a maximum interest of 17.1% per year.

Credit facilities (which consist of credit cards, store cards and overdrafts)can be charged a maximum interest of 22.1% per year.

For unsecured credit transactions which consist of mainly personal loans, credit providers can charge a maximum interest of 32.1% per year.

So make sure you are not being charged too much.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dont forget the DCASA AGM

DCASA's 3rd Annual General Meeting and Conference details below:

Date: Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Time: 8H00 till 16H00
Venue: Emperor’s Palace, Kempton Park.

RSVP no later than Wednesday, the 22nd June by sending the
registration form to

Friday, June 3, 2011

Paying Rent?

Statistics from TNP show that 26% of higher income renters are defaulting on their rental payments at the moment.

Time for a change of accommodation!
Living within ones means is vitally important and knowing when to make changes and cut back is vital.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Get me to the court on time.

The latest statistics regarding courts hearing debt review matters have been released and it appears that 26 425 cases have been resolved through the Magistrates Courts.

At present there have been over 270 000 applications for debt review.

Make sure your DC has obtained a court date for your debt review matter.

NCT not doing a good job- so says NCR

The South African Fraud Prevention Service ordered by court to register as a credit bureau

The National Credit Regulator (NCR) has won an important case in the Pretoria High Court relating to the South African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS).

The SAFPS is a not-for-profit membership association focused on preventing financial crime. It is funded by its members’ annual membership fees, many of whom are credit providers.

On 19 February 2010, the National Consumer Tribunal (NCT) found that SAFPS did not have to register as a credit bureau; however, the NCR disagreed and took the matter on review to the North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.

On Thursday, 26 May 2011, Judge Legodi reviewed the Tribunal’s decision and set it aside. He also declared that the SAFPS had contravened the provisions of section 43 (registration of credit bureaux) of the National Credit Act (NCA). The court directed the SAFPS to lodge an application for registration as a credit bureau within 21 days. SAFPS was also ordered to pay the costs of the application. Failing this, it will be ordered to cease its operations in so far as receiving and submitting reports from any credit provider is concerned.

“The court found that the annual membership fees paid by credit providers to the SAFPS were indeed payment in terms of the NCA,” says Adv. Jan Augustyn, Manager for Investigations and Enforcement at the National Credit Regulator. “It also found that the business of the SAFPS falls under that of a credit bureau under the National Credit Act and that the information that is being held by SAFPS on their database and as provided by credit providers is indeed credit information in terms of the Act.”

Augustyn says the court’s decision shows that the collection of consumers’ credit information must be regulated and protected.
ISSUED BY: Leana Lucouw

Bullion PR & Communication

Tel: (011) 803 3615

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

DCASA meetings June 2011

DCASA Branch Meeting dates for June 2011:

8 June - Gauteng Meeting at 13H00 at Kempton Park Golf Club.

13 June - KwaZulu Natal Meeting at 10H00 at the Westville Country Club.

13 June - Limpopo Meeting: Venue and time to be confirmed.

24 June - Western Cape Meeting at 11H00 at Parow Country Club (Frans
Conradie Drive).

30 June - Eastern Cape Meeting. Venue to be confirmed.

For more information on the meetings, contact DCASA at or 086 143 2272.