Black Sash engages Parliament on the crisis of household debt: Submission to PC Trade and Industry on the National Credit Amendment Bill [b47 -2013]

11 February 2014
 
The Black Sash tabled its deep concern about household debt in its submission on the National Credit Amendment Bill to the Portfolio Committee for Trade and Industry today. In the context of deepening poverty, the human rights organisation welcomed Parliament’s intention to strengthen legislation and enforcement mechanisms and tighten the accountability of entities responsible for the creation of a more fair credit environment.

In their submission, Black Sash highlighted the lack of resourcing and effectiveness of the National Credit Regulator which had led to poor enforcement of credit legislation. They welcomed amendments to the legislation to improve the system of debt counselling which currently only serve those with a regular income.

The Black Sash highlighted spiralling patterns of debt in poor communities. Regional Manager, Thandiwe Zulu, said “Our national helpline and community monitoring efforts revealed that extremely high interest loans are being aggressively offered to low-income earners and beneficiaries of social assistance grants.”

Advocacy Manager, Elroy Paulus, argued that these often unregulated credit practices were reckless and would erode gains made by the state through the roll out of social assistance grants. “We strongly recommend that the legislation is amended to prohibit SASSA social assistance grants from being used as collateral for loans,” he said.

Furthermore, the Black Sash urged members of the portfolio committee to work with all implicated departments to ensure the effective enforcement of credit legislation intended to protect vulnerable consumers, and to bring illegal and reckless credit providers and lenders to book.

For more information contact:

  • Elroy Paulus on 082 748 5621 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Thandiwe Zulu on 011 834 8361 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click here to read our full submission