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The Latest Debtfree DIGI

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NCR Announce New Debt Counselling Fee Structure from 1 Aug 2011

August W. Cape Meeting of APDC - details

3 AUGUST 2011


LOCATION: Bellville, Cape Town

STREET ADDRESS: Carel van Aswegen Street, Bellville, 7530

Costs for the Venue is R200.00, please bring donations.

Please RSVP if you have not yet responded.


1. Introduction - Interaction on the Forum by all members

2. Main Topics

2.1 Proposals for Amendments to the ACT

(Please ensure that you bring your act and written proposals for changes. You must identify the section in the act, the proposal for the amendment, the reason for the amendment and the benefit thereof.) Please come prepared if you have suggestions to save time

2.2 Proposals for Guideline for DC Fee Structure

Written proposals based on realistic Fee structure
These suggestions will be posted on the Forum for voting by all members.

3. Open discussion

Kindly RSVP to

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

African Bank PDA - no more

African Bank who have operated a Payment Distribution Agency (PDA) which distributes consumers who are under debt review's funds have fought an up hill battle to try gain acceptance in the industry. It seems that battle has now been lost and African Bank have now sent out the following notice to DC's who have been using them as a PDA:

Dear Debt Counselors,

African Bank has after careful consideration made a commercial and strategic decision not to continue with the PDA operations. Attached please find formal notice. We also would like to thank you for using AB-PDS as your PDA. Please note that AB.PDS will continue with operations in providing the PDA services to you until such time that all the consumers has been placed with another PDA.

Please do contact us at any given time for assistance.

AB-PDS focus is to “wound down “ the business over the next four months. We will within the next 3 weeks come back to all the DC’s regarding a potential hand over agreement to an alternative PDA and Front end solution.

The following operation procedures going forward:

New Applications:

We will not accept any new applications after 31 August 2011.


Collections on existing consumers will continue as normal until the consumer has been placed with another PDA

Revised Applications:

Repayment plan maintenance will continue on the consumer until the consumer has been placed with another PDA

Account enquiries:

All account enquiries must be referred to A dedicated consultant will be allocated to deal the query

Portfolio Consultants:

You will no longer have a dedicated portfolio consultant: If you do experience a delay in any enquiries please escalate to:

Operations Manager – Johan Breedt – 011 564 6674 –

Accounting Manager – Petra Muller - 011 564 6735 –


1. Communication has been done to the following parties: NCR / PDASA / NDMA

2. We will communicate to the consumers as of the end of August 2011 ( If any communication is required prior the date please inform us)

3. We will continue to communicate to all parties as the wound down process continues

4. A dedicated team will remain even after all consumers has been placed to assist with queries, the mail address and telephone numbers will also remain in place

All Queries can be refer to:

Call centre number:0860 227 3560

Fax: 087 807 4267

Or escalation process,

Team Leader Operations: Adri Kuhn – 011 564 6737 –

Team Leader Support and Maintenance – Liezl Du Toit – 011 564 6887 –

Operations Manager – Johan Breedt – 011 564 6674 –

Accounting Manager – Petra Muller - 011 564 6735 –

Friday, July 22, 2011

More Business Day goodness re NCR

Below find exerts of the business day article.
For more visit their site (link below)

Consumers the victims while credit regulator left headless

Published: 2011/07/18 07:06:58 AM

IN FRANCIS Bacon’s 1597 essay, Of Usury, he wrote: "In the reformation and reglemation of usury, two things are to be reconciled: The one, that the tooth of usury be grinded that it bite not too much; The other, that there be left enough means to invite monied men to lend to the merchants for the continuing and quickening of trade."

The enactment of the National Credit Act in 2007 was a significant event in the financial transformation of SA, affecting millions of people. It followed many years of research and was discussed and debated in Parliament and in workshops across SA.

With the National Credit Act we dealt decisively with abusive practices, improved disclosure and imposed regulation on credit bureaus. The "reckless lending rules" make it compulsory for lenders to do proper affordability assessments, in order to prevent a repeat of the practices which led to the collapse of Saambou and Unibank.

In the light of the important role that the National Credit Act played in protecting the South African credit market from the effect of the financial crisis and its role in averting many thousands of potential repossessions, the lack of support for the National Credit Act from the Department of Trade and Industry is concerning and is having serious repercussions, both for the credit industry and for South African households.

The act was ahead of its time. Since the financial crisis many countries introduced similar legislation, and were influenced by the approach which we followed in the National Credit Act. Leading reformers in US credit regulation have expressed admiration for the National Credit Act and regulators from as far afield as China, Nigeria, Malaysia, the Philippines, Kenya, Uganda and Iran have recognised that the National Credit Act represents a new approach to credit regulation. An approach which addresses many of the failures at the heart of the subprime crisis and an approach which is essential in preventing future credit bubbles.

We have just come through a financial crisis, the biggest financial sector crisis since the Great Depression. More than a million South Africans lost their jobs, and many more have seen their income reduced through declining commissions, overtime payments and other forms of variable income. More than 2-million people experienced difficulty in meeting their financial commitments. At the height of the crisis, more than 200000 people were in arrears on their mortgages.

Debt counselling and the protective measures contained in the National Credit Act played a major role in preventing a huge escalation in repossessions and a meltdown in property prices. Once large-scale repossessions start taking place, in an environment without new lending, it inevitably initiates a cycle of declining house prices. This triggers panic selling, further repossession and further price declines, with an extremely negative effect on overall housing values and on the banking sector. Yet, despite the challenges in debt counselling, more than R200m a month is currently collected and distributed to creditors and nearly R4,5bn has been collected since debt counselling was introduced. Many thousands of families were able to restructure their debt and avoid losing their houses.

Today mortgage arrears are improving and the recovery of the South African credit market since the height of the financial crisis has been impressive. As a result of the financial crisis, quarterly credit granted declined by R51bn. Over the p ast two years the market has been recovering strongly and more than 50% of the decline has already been reversed. Without the stabilising effect of the National Credit Act, the fallout from the financial crisis could have been significantly higher and the recovery much more messy.

However, the real value of the National Credit Act lies in the future. The reckless lending rules, the limitations on unsolicited credit and improved disclosure would all contribute to a more stable and healthy credit market, reducing the boom-bust cycles so typical of credit markets everywhere in the world. And reducing household vulnerability in periods of contraction.

An act is only as strong as its enforcement. Since its establishment the National Credit Regulator (NCR) has done 505 investigations and issued 55 formal legal compliance notices. It has been engaged in 30 cases in the high court and 28 cases at the National Consumer Tribunal. A great effort has also been made to promote consumer awareness through consumer workshops, news articles and radio and television interviews

But there are also challenges. A significant part of the frustration around the act relates to the debt counselling processes introduced under the act. This includes the behaviour of debt counsellors; the delays in the courts; the predatory behaviour of lenders; and prolonged litigation. Most of these problems had been identified more than four years ago.

Yet the Department of Trade and Industry consistently resisted making the amendments proposed. The result has been fruitless litigation which has already cost millions of rand. Many thousands of South Africans have lost their homes in circumstances that could have been avoided. Despite various submissions made to it, the department has steadfastly failed to address these weaknesses.

Nearly 18-million consumers are engaged in some form of credit activity and owe a total of R1,4-trillion of debt on more than 36- million credit agreements. When things go wrong in the credit market, it affects all of us — whether we have a mortgage or motor vehicle finance, or whether we have a micro- loan or furniture finance. It affects us through the interest and fees we pay and it affects us in a most personal and traumatic manner if our own house or car is repossessed.

The post of CEO of the NCR has remained vacant since December and the recruitment process has been beset with rumour, mud- slinging, innuendo and allegations of improper interference by the regulator’s management and the Department of Trade and Industry itself. The one person in the NCR who has made the biggest contribution to the implementation of the act has been placed on special leave, without any evidence and without the opportunity to defend himself — s eemingly, as a ploy to neutralise him in the succession race.

Will the NCR survive the current leadership vacuum and instability?

It would be a great pity if an institution that has such an important role to play in the lives of ordinary South Africans is destroyed through the neglect of the officials responsible for its well-being.

It is not only the 18-million credit active consumers who will lose in the process, or the thousands of consumers whose houses are still at risk — we may just find that we are a lot more at risk when the next economic crisis arrives, as it surely will.

More new details for ABSA

ABSA have distributed the following email contact addresses to be used
(these new addresses replace all previous ones announced)

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

Urgent Court Applications:
The is ONLY for urgent court applications


Kindly note that there will not be a DCASA meeting taking place in the Western Cape this month.

The next meeting will take place on Friday, the 12th August 2011.

For more information contact DCASA.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Job Search poll results show most effective way to look for work

Dont' you hate it when you find out you what you were doing was a waste of time? You climbed the ladder ... but it was against the wrong wall! (To borrow a Covey analogy.)

You used the "Magic Drops" you saw advertised on TV to lose weight. But actually the "lose weight" part wasn't in the drops, but in the "calorie controlled diet" mentioned the very small print where it said "Only effective as part of a calorie controlled diet."

Your ladder was against the wrong wall!

And so it is with job hunting. It's why I did a survey a number of weeks ago about how people actually find the jobs they're in. In other words, when job hunting, what building or wall should you put your ladder up against?

Here are the results:

How did you find your current or most recent job?

Option 1 - Job search website (like Career Junction, PNet, etc)
8% answered "yes"

Option 2 - Employment/Personnel Agency, Labour Broker
17% answered "yes"

Option 3 - From a newspaper job ad placed by the company
17% answered "yes"

Option 4 - Via a referral from a friend/colleague/family member
51% answered "yes"

Option 5 - Through you approaching the company directly
7% answered "yes"

Option 6 - Via LinkedIn or Facebook or other social networks
0% answered "yes"

I have to say I was surprised.

For some reason I thought that more would have said "yes" to personnel agencies. You and others who receive and respond to this e-column are quite sophisticated with technology, educated, and most live in the corporate world. I would have thought that they have success with agencies more than most.

But instead the "via a referral from a friend, etc" option secured more "yes" votes than all other methods put together! Astonishing.

So are you looking for a job? What are you doing to canvas your contacts? It's likely where your next job lies waiting for you.

Gerard le Roux

CV Writer, Job Search Coach
Leader of the Career & Success INNER CIRCLE |

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

100 Members

Congratulations to
the Debt Counselling online forum who have just reached 100 members.

The forum is also home to the Alliance of Professional Debt Counsellors which is a group of DC's in the Western Cape who are sharing ideas and often meet together to discuss issues facing the industry. The forum also features groups from other parts of the country and is obviously continuing to swell in popularity.

Membership to the online forum has no cost.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Forum has 93 members

The group of concerned Debt Counsellors who have now chosen the name Alliance of Professional Debt Counsellors have set up a online forum to discuss the challenges facing the industry. Every thing from the Wording of the Act to behavior of certain creditors and Debt Counsellors is discussed.

While the forum has only been up for less than a month, the membership has grown exponentially. The forum now has 93 members (and growing).

It is great to see so many members of the Debt Counsellor community helping one another and sharing ideas.

If you would like to visit the forum head over to:

To Western Cape DC's: APDC Meeting announced


3 AUGUST 2011





1. Introduction - Interaction on the Forum by all members

2. Main Topics

2.1 Proposals for Amendments to the ACT

(Please ensure that you bring your act and written proposals for changes. You must identify the section in the act, the proposal for the amendment, the reason for the amendment and the benefit thereof.) Please come prepared if you have suggestions to save time

2.2 Proposals for Guideline for DC Fee Structure

(Written proposals based on realistic Fee structures are all welcome) These suggestions will be posted on the Forum for voting by all members.

3. Open discussion

Kindly RSVP to before 25 July 2011

Name for Western Cape DC's forum

Recently a group of concerned Debt Counsellors in the Western Cape (many former DCASA members)began meeting in person and online to discuss, as a forum, issues facing the industry and looking at possible solutions.

The forum has not had an official name until now. The members of the forum (there are now over 90 members on the online forum) have chosen the name:


The name tells one of their intent to act in a professional way and to work together as DC's. Many feel that the choosing of the name is one of the first steps this forum could be taking towards one day becoming an association in the industry. This will of course be dependent on the Alliance's vision and support from local DC's in the Western Cape and possibly elsewhere in the country.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New CEO for NCR in 2011 ?

The DTI have said that the NCR may finally be getting a new CEO.
This will be after months without official leadership. The NCR has been temporarily under an acting head (which has changed twice) since the previous CEO Gabriel Davel left last year.

"The process of appointing the CEO is at an advanced stage" department spokesman Mr. Clement Manoko is quoted as having said last week.

Interviews have been conducted and verification of qualifications and security clearance processes have apparently been completed.

"We will recommend appointment to Cabinet for consideration and approval very soon" said Mr. Manoko.

He did not however, indicate exactly when the department would make the final recommendation.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Some DC's thinking of taking legal action against the NCR

On the forum site of one group of debt counsellors it was recently stated that some members were thinking of a class action suit against the NCR. Apparently the heart of the issue goes toward referrals of business to the DC's (or rather non referrals by the NCR to these DC's.

This follows on after a recent letter from a member told the story of how she called the NCR and asked for details of her own company. She was told that she and her company were not registered with the NCR (not true- she is registered but in the incorrect province)
The consultant at the NCR then wanted to recommend a different DC to her (thinking she was a consumer).

As a result several members have called on other dc to fill in an affidavit and submit it as below:

We "are investigating the possibility of a Class Action against the National Credit Regulator. If you experienced any form of injustice or know about same,let us know by sending us your affidavit to., and post the original to P O Box 27288, Greenacres, 6057.

You may also use the following pro-forma affidavit

The undersigned hereby states under oath.


I am a Debt Counsellor, registered with the National Credit Regulator in terms of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005, Registration Number NCRDC______ , carrying on business at . .


I perused my particulars on the NCR help website and found them to be correct/incorrect. (If incorrect, state what steps you took to rectify same)


Since I started with Debt Counselling, I had _____ (state how many) referrals from the NCR.


At my training as Debt Counsellor I was assured that I would not have to advertise as the NCR are getting thousands of enquiries every day, which are conveyed to Debt Counsellors on an impartial basis. (or if not so, where did you learn about referrals from NCR if so)


As I received only ______ referrals (Or) As I received no referrals from the NCR, I was prejudiced and suffered monetary loss.


I would like the matter to be investigated.



I certify that the deponents have acknowledged that they know and understand the contents of this affidavit which was signed and sworn to before me on this ______ day of ___________________ and that the provisions of the regulations contained in government notice R1258 of 21 July 1972, have been complied with.

While this matter does not effect consumers and regardless of whether this matter does eventually become a legal one it seems there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the NCR's dealings with several DC's. It is hoped this matter can be resolved.

NATIONAL CONSUMER FORUM apply to Constitutional Court to act as amicus curiae in Collett matter

The NCF have applied to the Constitutional court to assist in the Collett v FRB matter.

While they had previously appealed to the SCA to assist with the matter they were denied. Now the NCF have applied for leave to act as amicus curiae for this case.

Who are the NCF you ask?:

1 The NCF is an individual membership, non-profit and autonomous organization that is dedicated to the protection and promotion of consumer rights and interests in South Africa. The NCF is an affiliate member of Consumers International (CI), a federation of over 250 consumer organizations in more than 120 countries.

2 The NCF works to assert and defend the rights of consumers as stated in the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection of 1985 (and as amended in 1999). It educates consumers about their rights, lobbies on consumer issues, and speaks out where it can on a range of challenges that consumers – especially lower income earners – experience in their daily lives.

3 The aims of the NCF are to:
monitor and raise vital consumer issues; focus on the consumption of goods and services, their motives and consequences, and the consumers’ potential to positively influence them; inform, generate opinion and coordinate campaigns; and work to increase consumers’ influence on the market place.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shocking news item in Business Day implies corruption at NCR

The Business Day has run a story regarding a DC who was supposedly involved with organising a bachelor party for a member of staff at the NCR. The report states that the Business Day has documentary proof of correspondence from the DC to NCR staff which states in part:

"A house will do, a hotel in Midrand can easily be construed to be a wedding whereas we throwing a batchelor’s party. (sic) Privacy and being motherless is key as I have a few girls that have agreed to strip for the celebrant, I don’t c this occurring in a Hotel. Explore your imagination gents (sic),"

The DC - Mr. Nyiko Reginald Matjokana was writing to officials (including a debt counselling monitoring officer and legal adviser) in an e-mail back in November 2009, ahead of a bachelor’s party he held for a project manager employed by the NCR.

Business Day says that they knows the name of the three employees concerned and that as recently as last month they were all three still working for the NCR.

This story shows the potential for corruption that could undermine the process. It also has raised questions about the relationships between DC's and staff at the NCR. Are these the lengths to which DC's have to go to keep their registration, or entice the NCR to send business their way?

With the NCR being one of the first ports of call for many troubled debtors, it plays a crucial role in referring consumers to DC's country wide. It has been repeatedly stated that there is a lack of clarity as to how such referrals are given.

Mr Matjokana - the DC accused - denied any attempt to influence regulator staff and said he had not supplied any women for the bachelor party.

"It was merely a bachelor’s party for a guy we know and on the e-mail we jokingly said ‘this is what I’ll do’. You know that type of a thing...The person in question at the NCR does not refer clients. When people call, they give them the website. So how would I influence? We do our own marketing

Mr Matjokana, of Maita Projects, has several offices in Gauteng, Middelburg and Bloemfontein. He has around 2000 clients at present. He claims his success has raised questions on the part of some people with bad intent "without appreciating our good efforts and the good work we offer the client". Implying that he is the victim of a smear campaign.

It is no secret however that the NCR have since conducted two investigations into allegations against him of bribery or that in both cases he has been cleared of said charges. Some point to friends within the NCR as shielding him. In October last year, Mr Matjokana even won an appeal against a bid by the NCR to de-register him.

Stories like these expose weaknesses in the NCR referral system and magnify the concern of DC's regarding exactly how these referrals are made.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

SDC Forum

As at the time of this post, the SDC online forum had last had a comment by a member (not incl. Debtfree DIGI) on the 15th of June 2011. Could this be an indicator of lessening support? Perhaps it is simply an indicator that members are too busy dealing with the recent spate of terminations letters and summonses their clients are receiving.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Create a Budget and stick to it.

Do you have a budget?

Have you updated it in the face of increasing petrol, electricity, food costs.

The increase in these costs need to be taken into account.

Do one today to avoid nasty surprises at the end of the month.

DCASA Meetings July 2011

11 July - KwaZulu Natal Meeting at 10H00 at the Westville Country Club.

13 July - Gauteng Meeting at 13H00 at the University of Pretoria.

15 July - Free State meeting at 14H00 at Tempe Golf Club.

22 July - Western Cape Meeting at 11H00 at Parow Country Club.

Contact DCASA at or at 086
143 2272 for more information on the meetings

Are you ready to Complain?

The Consumer Protection Act provides some possible relief for consumers who are being harassed by collection agents

CPA Section (1) has these definitions:

"supplier" means a person who markets any goods or services;

"person" includes a juristic person

Ok, with that in mind now we look at:

Section 40 (1)
A supplier or an agent of the supplier must not use physical force against a consumer, coercion, undue influence, pressure, duress or harassment, unfair tactics or any other similar conduct, in connection with any -

(d) demand for, or collection of, payment for goods or services by a consumer;

An agent can also include an attorney, debt collector, persons who operate from a call center, etc.

In the event that the above occurs, the transgressor should and must be reported to the Public Protector, Consumer Commission and NCR.

So if you are being harassed by someone in regard to an account that falls under the CPA (which is still a recent development) then are you ready to complain?

Thursday, July 7, 2011


The Department of Trade and Industry has updated the portfolio committee on trade and industry in Parliament on the timetable for expected legislation.

Speaking to the committee last week, the department’s director-general, Lionel October, outlined the way forward for key pieces of legislation in the pipeline.
The bills mentioned included theNational Credit Amendment Bill
This is set to be placed before cabinet in February 2012.
Then expected to table in Parliament in April 2012.

The National Credit Amendment Bill
aims to improve implementation of the principal act. In particular, it seeks to enhance the effectiveness of the debt review, debt counselling and restructuring process. According to the department, the proposed legislation is intended to “unlock the blockage that is caused largely by resistance of stakeholders to comply with the provisions relating to debt review and counselling and delays in adjudicating on debt restructuring matters by magistrates”.

It is hoped that this will assist in sorting out issues regarding terminations, which courts should hear the matters, adjustments of interest rates and much more.

Do you know what your credit bureau records say about you?

Many consumers apply for credit, only to find out that their application has been turned down due to negative credit information held with a credit bureau.

“Of all our cases last year, 70% of consumers contacted the Credit Ombud office for assistance after their credit application has been rejected due to a negative listing on their credit profile,” says Credit Ombud, Manie van Schalkwyk.

“To avoid disappointment, it’s imperative for consumers to ensure the credit information held with credit bureaus is correct, prior to applying for credit.”

Most credit providers use credit bureau information when undertaking credit assessments and granting finance to credit applicants, the credit profiles are also used to determine interest rates and the terms of business. According to National Credit Regulator (NCR) statistics, a total of 199,26 million enquiries were made on consumer credit records for the quarter ended March 2011, an increase of 12,8% on the previous quarter. This was an increase of nearly 60% compared to the previous year.

Yet enquiries initiated by consumers accounted for just 11.07 million of the total enquiries, a decrease of 5.2% quarter-on-quarter, although an increase of 12.4% year-on-year.

“Most consumers leave it up to the credit provider to check their credit history with a credit bureau when applying for credit,” he says.

Van Schalkwyk explains that in order to ensure their credit records are up-to-date, consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit bureau record from any one of the registered credit bureaux annually.

Van Schalkwyk says consumers who feel that they are listed unfairly or that there are incorrect information listed at a credit bureau and have unsuccessfully tried to rectify the situation can contact the Credit Ombud Office for assistance. This service is provided free of charge to consumers.

“If we agree that a consumer’s listing is incorrect, our decisions are binding on credit bureaux and their subscribers, but not to consumers and businesses,” explains van Schalkwyk. “It’s in consumers’ interests to ensure that their credit information is up to date.”

If consumers defaulted through no fault of themselves but latter rehabilitated themselves, should Credit Ombud rule in their favour, relevant negative credit information may be removed from their credit bureau records before it reaches its natural retention period.

Consumers can contact the Ombud office on 0861 66 28 37 or website