National Credit Amendment Bill Sent for Assent

Parliament

Parliament has passed the National Credit Amendment Bill and sent it to president Ramaphosa for assent.

The committee bill was tabled in parliament on 6 September 2018.

The national assembly passed the bill on 12 September 2018 and sent it to the national council of provinces for concurrence.

The bill was drafted by the portfolio committee on trade and industry.

The proposed legislation is designed to provide debt interventions for low income, over-indebted consumers.

It was published for comment at the end of 2017. Hearings on the bill were held in parliament in January 2018.

The bill aims to amend the National Credit Act of 2005 so as to:

•    provide for debt intervention;
•    insert new definitions;
•    include the evaluation and referral of debt intervention applications as a function of the National Credit Regulator and to provide for the creation of capacity within the National Credit Regulator and logistical arrangements to execute this function;
•    include the consideration of a referral as a function of the Tribunal;
•    provide for the recordal of information related to debt intervention;
•    require a debt counsellor to investigate whether an agreement is reckless;
•    provide for a court to enquire into and either refer a matter for debt intervention or make an order related to debt intervention;
•    provide for a Magistrate’s Court and the Tribunal to determine the maximum interest, fees or other charges when re-arranging debt and for guidance to be prescribed in this regard;
•    provide for an application for debt intervention and the evaluation thereof;
•    provide for the Tribunal to re-arrange a consumer’s obligations and make an order in respect of an unlawful credit agreement;
•    provide for orders related to debt intervention and rehabilitation in respect of such an order;
•    provide for mandatory credit life insurance to be prescribed;
•    provide for offences related to debt intervention, prohibited credit practices, selling or collecting prescribed debt and related to failure to register as required by the Act;
•    provide for measures when an offence is committed by a person other than a natural person;
•    provide for penalties in relation to the newly created offences;
•    provide for the Tribunal to change or rescind an order under certain circumstances;
•    require the Minister to make regulations related to a financial literacy programme;
•    provide in a transitional provision for the application of this Amendment Act to credit agreements entered into before its commencement; and
•    provide for matters connected therewith.

The select committee on trade and international relations passed the bill without amendments.

In a separate matter, the trade and industry department has declared that government remains committed to making use of industrial and trade policy tools to address the competitiveness and sustainability of the poultry industry.

In a statement, the trade and industry department confirmed that South Africa continued to use a number of interventions to support the local poultry industry.

These include “measures to boost competitiveness, value-addition and technology upgrading; trade measures; export support to assist the domestic industry to access foreign markets; industrial finance and incentives with conditions for improving competitiveness; and measures to promote growth and transformation of the poultry industry among others”.

The department also announced that work on the drawing up of a Poultry Master Plan had commenced.

According to the department, development on the plan feeds into the work of the task team set up to draft a comprehensive plan for the poultry industry.

Meanwhile a new BRICS Business Council has been established.

The Council was first set up in 2013.

According to the department, the Council was established to “constitute a platform which will promote and strengthen business, trade and investment ties amongst the business communities of the five BRICS countries, ensure that there is regular dialogue between the business communities of the BRICS nations and the Governments of the BRICS countries; and identify problems and bottlenecks to ensure greater economic, trade and investment ties amongst the BRICS countries and recommend solutions accordingly”.

The new Council consists of Ms Busi Mabuza (IDC), Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba (Discovery Ltd), Ms Bridgette Radebe (Mmakau Mining), Dr Stavros Nicolaou (Aspen Pharmacare) and Mr Elias Monage (Afika Group).

Sabinet Cape Town Office