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The Latest Debtfree DIGI

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Petrol Price Hike this week

Petrol is set to increase by 23 cents this week.
Diesel is set to break the R10 mark and increase to R10.01
Increased fuel costs negatively affect many industries - as transport costs go up, so too will the prices of goods and services as companies try to keep pace with petrol costs.

Consumers: Beware rising food costs and possible increases in taxi fares etc...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

theDCI goes LIVE

You may have been seeing some stuff on this news blog and elsewhere about the DCI.
The latest news is: The DCI portal is now active. You can visit and sign up if you want at www.thedci.co.za

Who or what are they?

This is what their site says:

"
theDCI is a communication platform that aims to deliver a host of value added services that the industry would benefit from. It has been built specifically, to address the difficulties that debt counsellors face in their daily practise. Whether your practise is big or small, all the services and offerings are designed, negotiated and delivered in a manner that is beneficial to all within the industry."

They are not an association but rather a meeting point for various industry players.

Why use this portal?
Their site motivates it this way: "

There is no other platform like it and this is only the start!
There are a host of offerings that are already delivered and many more exciting offerings that are still to come. It is about promoting ethics, equal opportunity, equal benefits and standing together as a profession that will help to make the biggest difference in consumer's lives and the industry as a whole. You can help to make a difference as each person's voice on theDCI does matter and is heard."

So if your interest is piqued head over to their site and check it out. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Press council Rule on complaint by Peter Setou against the Sunday Independent

The Press ombud has ruled against Mr Setou who claims that the story about the alleged corruption and investigation are false and misleading. The report is long so we have only taken excepts therefrom.

Feel free to follow the link and read the complete report.
"
2011 >>


Peter Setou vs. Sunday Independent
Posted by Khanyi Mndaweni (pmsa) on Oct 14 2011 at 11:00 AM

Ruling by the Deputy Press Ombudsman
October 14, 2011
This ruling is based on the written submissions of attorneys De Swardt Vögel Myambo, for Mr P. Setou, and the Sunday Independent newspaper.
 
Complaint
Mr Peter Setou complains about a story in the Sunday Independent, published on August 21, 2011and headlined Hawks investigate complaints – Allegations of a conflict of interest and corruption against Credit Ombudsman.

Setou complains that the newspaper:
• did not contact him for his comment; and
• used a wrong document that falsely alleges that he had an inappropriate relationship with Rudo Consulting.
Analysis
The story, written by Gcwalisile Khanyile, is about complaints by debt counsellor Reginald Nyiko Matjokana against Credit Ombudsman Manie (misspelt in the story – “Mannie”) van Schalkwyk (for conflict of interest), former National Credit Regulator (NCR) CEO Gabriel Davel (for maladministration) and senior manager of education and strategy Peter Setou (for corruption). The story says that Matjokana lodged these complaints with the Public Protector and the Hawks.

Khanyile writes that Setou was being investigated by the Hawks. The complaint with the Public Protector is reportedly about Setou’s relationship with Rudo Consulting (RC), an independent consulting firm with expertise in debt counselling 
(who was to assist the NCR with monitoring and providing support to debt counsellors).

We shall now look at the merits of the complaint:

Not contacted for comment
The story says that Setou was “unavailable for comment”, implying that it tried to contact him. Setou complains that the Sunday Independent did not ask him for comment prior to publication. He adds that the newspaper nevertheless proceeded to publish the story – resulting in creating the impression that there was some wrongdoing on his part. His lawyer writes: “The irresponsible manner in which this story was researched and published has tarnished our client’s reputation.” The newspaper denies this, saying that "...our reporter…then sent him sms notices on his cellphone…” in order to elicit a response from him. 
I asked the newspaper for copies of these sms notices.

This is what the newspaper sent me:

Dear Mr. Setou
I’ve been trying to get hold of you, but your phone is still on voicemail. We are doing a story about corruption allegations against you relating to Rudo Consulting, DSG (Digital Solutions Group) and Feasibility. The Hawks and the public Protector are already investigating you.
1. Why did you record the incorrect figure when you recommended the appointment of Rudo Consulting?
2. Was your intention to deceive other Expo members?
3. You also recorded an incorrect figure on your recommendation for an appointment of DSG, saying the cost was below R100 000 when it was actually more. Why did you do it?
4. Did you have any hidden agenda when you did this? (Please explain). We would appreciate any other comment or additional information related to this matter as we intend to publish the matter we understand to be true.
Our deadline is: Saturday, August 20 2011 @ 17:H00
Kind regards,
Gcwalisile Khanyile
The Sunday Independent Journalist. 076 423 1144/ 011 633 2356
Fax number: 011 633 2216
Or Email: gcwali.khanyile@inl.co.za or gcwalie32@gmail.com"


the report also contains a second sms...

..."there are no dates to these messages. However, the journalist sent these to me seconds after we have spoken on the phone – which makes it unlikely if not impossible that she has made them up afterwards. I have checked that the number that the journalist said she used was the right one. It was indeed. Also, there is no apparent reason why the journalist would purposefully send these messages to a wrong number. Therefore, I believe that I have enough evidence to accept that the newspaper tried to contact Setou.

Wrong document; False allegation
The sentence in dispute says: “Setou allegedly manipulated various contracts to favour Rudo Consulting.” 

...

The issues at stake are:
• Did the newspaper use the correct document?
• If it did not, how reasonable was it for the newspaper to use that document?
• Was the newspaper’s reportage, based on a right or wrong document, reasonable and fair?

Another document that the newspaper provided me with now features – the NCR one, dated 25 August 2011. In this memorandum to Setou, the NCR informs him that he was required to attend a disciplinary enquiry/hearing into several allegations of misconduct against him. These allegations range from preferential treatment of suppliers, fraud and failure to disclose his relationship with a service provider, to breach of the provisions of his special leave. He is also told that, if he was found guilty of any of these charges, he would be dismissed. I note that the story was published on August 21 ...The story says that there was an allegation that Setou manipulated contracts to favour RC – and it is true that there was such an allegation. (This has nothing to do with the question whether Setou was guilty or not.) This means that the newspaper was justified in its reportage on this matter, irrespective of the legitimacy of the document in question.
....
Also, the Sunday Independent did not portray Setou as guilty (regarding his argument of being innocent until found guilty). The story says that he was being “investigated” for “allegedly” manipulating contracts. This is a far cry from being portrayed as guilty.

Now for the last issue: How reasonable and fair did the newspaper treat the document that it used?

The document contains this sentence: “I (Dixon) have no evidence to support any of the allegations made against Mr. Setou for any wrong doing as an employee of the NCR.”
It would have been better if the story referred to this sentence. However, the story is not about what Dixon has found, it is rather about the allegations that led to the investigation by the Public Protector and the Hawks.


Finding
The complaint is dismissed in its entirety.

Sanction
There is no sanction.
 ....

Johan Retief
Deputy Press Ombudsman

If you would like to read the original press council report head over to:
http://www.presscouncil.org.za/pages/posts/peter-setou-vs.-sunday-independent263.php

All Pro DC meeting held in George


All Pro DC met in George with various DC's from the region on Thursday 27th Oct.
While the meeting was small the aims of the association are large and many attending have decided to join up.

Those that were there describe it as a success.
The next All Pro DC meeting should be held in P.E.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

NCR Training - Cape Town Oct 2011

The National Credit Regulator (NCR) recently made an appearance in Cape Town to meet with industry role players and present training information and feedback on the Debt Review Advisory Committee (DRAC).
It has been over a year since the last big NCR event in CT and many people attended partially for the novelty of it.

The conference was held at the River Club in Ob's. There were various presentations from DRAC members as well as NCR rep's. While nothing earth shattering was revealed it was good to note that the NCR and DRAC are aware of the problems facing those on the "coal face" of Debt Counselling.

There was a lot of talk about how the legislation is to blame and the need to amend the NCA itself to address the matter. Paul Slot (a DRAC rep and member of the Debt Counselling Association of South Africa) expressed doubts that this will happen in Feb 2011 despite what the DTI has been saying about releasing an amendment Bill to the NCA. He said it was more realistic to look at the second Quarter of the year rather.

A very interesting presentation was given by the Senior Magistrate about the training given to Magistrates in connection with Debt Counselling. However the most shocking thing revealed was that there was no funding this year (nor had been for the past 3 years) for Magistrates training and the mandate of the Justice College no longer included training Magistrates about the NCA anyway. They have only done so as requested and funded by the NCR.

The conference ended at midday and many DC's expressed disappointment at the lack of new information Many stated that they did enjoy the chance to ask questions and even get one or two answers and the chance to network with other DC's as well.

Monday, October 24, 2011

DCASA appoints a CEO

The first DCASA meeting took place in December 2006 and now five years later DCASA  has announce the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer.  
Wikus Olivier has been appointed as CEO of the Debt Counsellors Association of South Africa with effect from 1st November 2011.
Wikus has been part of the growth of DCASA and has practiced as a Debt Counsellor in the Free State from 2008 to 2011. Until recently Wikus was the Chairman of the DCASA Free State Provincial Branch and also served as a DCASA NEC member for many years. He has a strong technology background which is a key requirement for the CEO of DCASA.
The National Executive Committee of DCASA has mandated Wikus to commence with a special project which will be his main focus until the middle of January 2012. After this he will begin assuming and taking over the CEO functions and duties from those NEC members who have been assisting DCASA in this regard.
According to Tony Richards the appointment of the first CEO for DCASA is a proud moment in the history of DCASA. The need for a CEO has been identified long ago but the maturity of the organisation and the ability to afford a CEO are never easily achieved. The only source of income is membership fees and DCASA has recently agreed a number of ambitious projects to generate additional income.
There are still many challenges facing DCASA and the appointment of a CEO can only assist the organisation to reach their goals.
According to Wikus Olivier there are a lot of work to be done in order to get DCASA where we envision it to be. He also said that he is looking forward to the challenges lying ahead and hopes to add value to DCASA and its members.

Friday, October 21, 2011

NCR Roadshow - various dates

Herewith the dates for the NCR roadshow in the various provinces

W. Cape         25 Oct 2011
KZN                31 Oct 2011
E. Cape            2 Nov 2011
Gauteng           3 Nov 2011

If you need more details please feel free to contact the NCR on -0860 627 627



Sunday, October 16, 2011

JOINT SAPS, NCR & SASSA OPERATION NETS ILLICIT CREDIT PROVIDERS


In a joint two-day operation the South African Police Service, the National Credit Regulator (NCR), South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) have embarked on an operation aimed at clamping down on credit providers who are still hell-bent on employing illegal bullying tactics against vulnerable and unsuspecting consumers.

The operation dubbed “Project Blitzkrieg” primarily focuses on illegal credit providers who are unlawfully retaining pension cards, bank cards, identity documents and personal identity numbers (PIN) of their clients as surety.

As a start pension payout points in Zwide, Kwa Zakhele and Motherwell in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape were focused on. The second leg of the operation focused on a few credit providers’ premises in Motherwell, Zwide, North End Port Elizabeth and New Brighton West.

The operation yielded the following successes:-
-          A total of six  people known as ‘Skoppers’ were arrested,
-       Police also found the suspects in possession of an accumulative number of over 60 pension cards, ID books and notebooks and 297 bank cards and pin numbers.
“This is certainly not the last of our operations in this regard”, said Jan Augustyn, Manager for Investigations & Enforcement at the NCR. “Such operations will later be extended to other parts of the country, mainly in rural communities where we believe people are more vulnerable and easily exploited”, added Augustyn.
“Meanwhile the NCR’s education division will continue to educate consumers on their rights and obligations and provide advice on how to lodge complaints”, added Augustyn.
SASSA has also advised consumers not to leave their pension cards with micro lenders as they will not get out of the debt cycle and will battle to get their grants if they do not have their pension cards. “If consumers in and around the mentioned areas have left their cards and documents with micro lenders, they are advised to contact the Directorate Priority Crimes Investigations: Eastern Cape immediately where their cards can be retrieved,” says Vuyolwethu Bukula, Senior Manager at SASSA, Eastern Cape Region.
The National Commissioner has praised the team for their efforts, citing crimes against women and children, particularly pensioners as one of the priorities of the SAPS. “The joint operational team will continue to arrest and prosecute these micro lenders who persist on exploiting vulnerable people”, said National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele.

Friday, October 14, 2011

No more "blacklisting"


The term “blacklisting” or “blacklist” is a term still widely used among South African consumers. Typically, consumers mean that they have been listed with a bureau when they use this description, says Darrell Beghin, Credit Information and Research Manager at the National Credit Regulator (NCR).

Beghin’s comments come when many consumers are surprisingly still in the dark that the term ‘blacklisting’ has been discarded from South African credit industry’s vocabulary. The term arose in the times when credit bureaus only held negative or default data about consumers and nothing about their positive payment behaviours was shared by credit providers through credit bureaus. 

Now credit bureaus hold both positive and negative data. This is evident from the June 2011 Credit Bureau Monitor. It shows that out of the 18.84 million credit active consumers, 53.3% consumers are in good standing and 46.7% have impaired records. These are consumers who are classified as three or more months in arrears, have an adverse listing, reflect a judgment or an administration order.

It has proved immensely beneficial in predicting the future behaviour of consumers to have both the negative or default behaviour considered with the positive payment actions of consumers in determining credit worthiness and possible future payment performance.  Hence credit providers will still continue to load default information or details of enforcement actions, to credit bureaus. 

But to use the term  “blacklisting” for this sharing of information creates an incorrect perception as most of the data held at bureaus is positive and the overall combined effect of default and payment information makes the informed extension of credit very possible.  This is to the advantage of consumers. “To have your name appearing on the credit bureau, neither means that you have a bad credit profile nor does it mean that you will never be able to have access to credit again. It simply means that you have an account with a particular credit / service provider who makes use of credit bureau services, irrespective of how the account is conducted”, says Beghin. The information of how you do or do not pay your accounts forms the payment profile portion of your credit record and this on its own will also not determine your access to credit.

 Beghin explains that the practice of credit bureaus collecting and storing both positive and negative information has been in existence since the mid 1980’s.

The majority of credit providers are members of the Credit Providers Association (CPA). The aim of this organisation is to ensure that members submit quality data to the credit bureaus. Amongst other, data submitted include the credit limit, monthly instalment, term, months in arrears (if any) and amount in arrears (if any), says Beghin.

She says the credit bureaus load the information and display a history of the account for a period of two years, the payment history may be stored for up to a period of five years as prescribed by regulation 17 of the National Credit Act (NCA).

“A poor credit profile that contains default data, shows non-payment or habitual late payments of accounts typically makes it difficult for a credit provider to justify the approval of a loan,” she says. “Whereas a healthy credit profile shows the credit provider that the applicant has a history of honouring other agreements and is most probably willing to meet a further commitment,” adds Beghin.

She says it’s not the responsibility of credit bureaus to make decisions to approve or turndown credit applications. “Credit bureaus make the data available to credit providers to assist them when deciding to grant credit. Each credit provider grants credit based on its own set of policies which will be influenced by the type of credit, target market and appetite for risk,” she says.

The account payment information section (typically referred to as your payment profile) is part of the credit profile that the credit bureau maintains and makes available to its subscribers when they request a credit report. “Remember that your consent as a consumer should be given where the NCA specifies consumer consent. Consumer consent should be sought when considering a candidate for employment in a position that requires trust and honesty and entails the handling of cash or finances; setting a limit in respect of the supply of goods, services or utilities and verifying educational qualifications and employment, advises Beghin.

Consumers have the right to one free credit report a year per credit bureau, thereafter the report is charged at a nominal fee of not more than R25.00 including VAT. “You further have the right to challenge any information listed on your credit profile that is deemed inaccurate,” says Beghin.

Beghin concludes by advising consumers who want to access their credit report, to contact any of the credit bureaus that are registered with the NCR. For any further information consumers should call the National Credit Regulator on 0860 627 627 or visit the NCR’s website www.ncr.org.za

Thursday, October 13, 2011

DCASA talks to DTI

Four members of DCASA (namely Paul Slot, Tony Richards, Joseph du Broize and Russell Dickerson) met with Senior  Officials of DTI who are responsible for the NCA. 

The DCASA delegation was well received by DTI and a few hours was spent on the substantive document handed to the DTI. Many of the issues identified in the document were discussed in detail. DCASA also provided DTI with a typical Rule 55 application (which was about 100 cm thick), they were surprised to see the voluminous nature of the application.

The feedback from DTI was that the DCASA recommendations were very useful and insightful. DTI is already in a process to assess key issues requiring attention in the NCA and many of these issues were also highlighted by DCASA. DTI expects that a draft bill will be ready for submission to parliament during the second sitting next year.

Seyffert v FRB- a case to watch

Leave to Appeal has been granted in the case of Seyffert vs. FirstRand Bank. 

The matter has to deal with bad faith terminations.

In this case FNB terminated their participation in the debt review despite the fact that the consumer was up to date with payments in line with a reasonable proposal.

Bad faith is illustrated by the fact that FNB requested a postponement on the matter before the Magistrate Court in order to deal with allegations made by the applicant but instead of dealing with the issues FNB terminated the debt review directly after requesting the postponement. This action by FNB was, in the view of the applicant, in total bad faith and the bank was not entitled to terminate the debt review.

DCASA has put up the funding to appeal and will be pursuing this matter in the hopes of establishing a well known precedent in this regard.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NCR roadshow in CT in Oct 2011


DCASA General Meeting draws closer

The DCASA Annual General Meeting (AGM) for 2011 is coming up in about a months time.

DCASA have as usual invited all (Full) members to attend and participate.
Remember to make sure your membership fees are paid up though.
 


When/Where:
The AGM will take place on Tuesday, the 22nd November 2011 at Kempton Park Golf Club from 11H00 to 13H00.

Two main topics will be dealt with:

1) the election of the National Executive Committee
2) the signing off on proposed amendments to the Constitution.

So book the date if you are a DCASA member.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The NCR remind DC's to update NCR Debt Help





CIRCULAR No. 12 of 2011– UPDATING OF NCR DEBT HELP AND CREDIT BUREAUS

It is one of the conditions of registration of debt counsellors that they must regularly and timeously update the NCR Debt help system on the progress of the debt review applications. The monitoring reports show that not all debt counsellors are loading and updating the records on progress of application. Credit providers have indicated that many consumers who are under debt counselling are not flagged at the Credit Bureaus which place considerable risk to credit providers and consumers and impact on the entire credit industry.  It is a requirement in terms of the NCA, that all debt counsellors notify the bureaus when a client has applied for debt review.  We appeal to all debt counsellors to adhere to the process set out, by loading and updating the DHS system timeously so that consumer profiles are updated accordingly with the Credit Bureaus. 
The NCR Debt help has been enhanced to make it more user-friendly and improve its functionality. An added purpose is to ensure that the NCR Debt Help system and credit bureaus` database are in synch as much as possible to ensure that the consumer information on the credit bureau is correct and that the complaints and manual interventions are eliminated.
It is incumbent upon all debt counsellors to therefore utilize the system effectively and timely in order to mitigate the risk of consumers obtaining credit whilst under debt counselling. 
Failure of any debt counsellor to update consumer records on the debt help system constitutes a serious breach of  conditions of registration and failure of a debt counsellor to notify the Bureaus when a customer has applied and goes under debt review is a direct contravention of the NCA Regulations.  The NCR will take enforcement action against contravening debt counsellors, as this defeats the objectives of the Act insofar as promoting equity in the credit market is concerned, by balancing the respective rights and responsibilities of credit providers and consumers. 
The NCR further recommends that debt counsellors who are employed by an entity should not load clients under their own profiles on NCR Debt Help, but instead load clients under the name of the principal member of the entity. This is because when debt counsellors leave their employment it creates a massive administration process on the NCR Debt Help system to transfer consumers into the profile of a new debt counsellor. Debt counsellors are advised to contact NCR if unsure of the transfer process to be followed.
Where clients voluntarily withdraw or are withdrawn from debt review by the debt counsellor, it is incumbent upon the debt counsellor to firstly update the system with the correct status code on the NCR Debt Help system. It also remains the debt counsellor’s responsibility to follow up should there be a query on the withdrawn record.  The NCR is inundated with queries from consumers issued with 17.4 forms, but still active on the NCR Debt Help system.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information:
Please email The National Credit Regulator at info@ncr.org.za






Note: 
This letter (above) may also help DC's where Magistrates request info on how the DC's are informing the Credit Bureaus as per the requirements of Sect 86 of the NCA when consumers apply for debt counselling .

NDMA in the news


Friday, October 7, 2011

DCI

Have you heard of the DCI?
We have and here is what they offer at the moment:









Join the new Debt Counselling Industry portal FREE and get all the tools and resources you need to help South Africans get out of debt.

Your no-obligation membership gives you detailed access to view consumers who don't pay their Debt Counsellors, the ability to store consumers who owe you money and access to a live forum – PLUS 10 FREE credits for legal letters worth R700.
Now you have a voice.

 For more info visit:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NCR Invite for training in George for 7th October 2011


As per the NCR:



"Dear Debt Counsellor
NCR PRACTICAL TRAINING SESSIONS FOR DEBT COUNSELLORS

The NCR recently sent out a circular, whereby we informed you that from 1 October 2011, we would be offering training and support to debt counsellors. We received an overwhelming response and many debt counsellors are eagerly waiting to hear where and when the first sessions will be held.
We have the pleasure in inviting you to a debt counselling practical training in George on 7 October 2011 at 08:30. (Venue to be confirmed once your booking form is processed)


Only registered debt counsellors may attend this training. The training is sponsored by The National Credit Regulator. Should you book and not attend, the NCR reserves the right to invoice you for the costs thereof.
Cancellations must be in writing and must be at least two days prior to training.

You are reminded that in terms of your registration you are required to attend training sessions:


14.  The Debt Counsellor must attend training programmes and engage in educational activities as required by the NCR in order to ensure continuous professional development and familiarity with changes in legislation and developments related to the provision of debt counselling services. The Debt Counsellor must maintain a record of such training and educational activities.


The training session will be conducted from 08:30-16:30. Delegates are requested to arrive by 8.00 at the latest. Arrivals after registration will not be accepted.

Please RSVP as soon as possible to Ange Walker (awalker@ncr.org.za) to avoid disappointment. Due to the nature of the training, we will only be accepting 30 bookings per session and bookings will be processed as they come in (first come, first served). If however, the course is full and we cannot take your booking, you will be placed on a waiting list and will receive a preferential invite to the next training."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

New Debt Counsellors Association launched- Alliance of Professional Debt Counsellors

All Pro DCs have officially begun to take on members from 1st October 2011. Below see their invite and consider if you wish to join up.


INVITATION TO JOIN ALL PRO DC

You are hereby formally invited to become a member of our association ALL PRO DC.
Our association consists of men and women:
• who are registered with the NCR as Debt Counsellors &
• individuals with a vested interest in the Debt Counselling industry.


The objectives of ALL PRO DC are;

• to be a professional body for Debt Counsellors in South Africa as a non profit organization for the purpose of promoting the interests of members of the ALL PRO DC and a professional Debt Counselling industry;
• to keep members informed with the law and practice of Debt Counselling;
• to insist upon a high and ethical standard of behavior on the part of members and to preserve and maintain the integrity and status of the ALL PRO DC;
• to facilitate the consideration and discussion of matters of interest to Debt Counselling, NCR & DTI and persons associated with the provisions of the National credit act;

The aims of the ALL PRO DC are:

• to promote fair credit practice within South Africa and to promote the objectives and aims of the ALL PRO DC;
• uphold, protect and develop the Debt Counselling profession;
• challenge all discriminatory practices relating to the credit in the Credit industry;
• be the national voice for its members;
• co-operate with bodies that have similar objectives;
• to liaise and represent Debt Counsellors with the NCR, DTI and credit provider forums or any other interested party; and
• to promote fair credit practice within South Africa and to promote the objectives and aims of the ALL PRO DC.

Membership fees will be R100.00 per month until members decides otherwise. Banking details to be provided.
Our association will be in the following city/town for meetings on proposals for amendments to the National Credit Act:
27 OCTOBER 2011 – PORT ELIZABETH
28 OCTOBER 2011 – GEORGE
17 & 18 NOVEMBER 2011 - JOHANNESBURG
If you require more information please go to http://debtconcern.webs.com for access to our Forum.
Get your application form from documents tab.
Please send your application form to secretary@allprodc.org
Yours in Debt Counselling

Adri de Bruyn (NCRDC998)
Secretary



http://debtconcern.webs.com/