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South Africa’s debt counselling magazine

January 2014

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LIVING ON LESS School Fee reduction



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EDITOR’S NOTE A new year has arrived. For many, this means a fresh start or another shot at trying to sort out their financial situation. January feels exciting because it holds the promise of potential. The potential to: have a great year, to change our bad habits and to finally accomplish our goals (you know… the ones we forgot to get around to last year).

and spend more. No wonder Debt Counsellors are busy. If you are a parent you will want to read the article in this issue on whether you might qualify for a reduction or exemption of school fees. Could you be paying less? Maybe…

For our industry readers we have a letter from If your goal is to get out of debt then we hope a reader - who is also an Attorney - about NCA 2014 is a great year for you. Sure, you might Section 88(1). We would love to hear if you not get rid of all your debt (after all, it took a agree with his take on this section. while to get into debt so, it will take a while to get out) but we hope you make some big We have made some big changes to the www. inroads into sorting out your debt out this year. website and we hope you It is going to take a plan, commitment and enjoy them. We hope they enhance your sticking to your guns but it will really be worth reading experience and we plan to continue to it. Imagine going into 2015 with only one or bring you both sides to every story and explain two debts left. Wouldn’t that be nice (and far matters in an easy to read manner as always. less stressful)? We hope that 2014 is your year, the year you Many Debt Counsellors are reporting higher take those BIG steps, make those BIG moves than usual amounts of calls and applications and maybe even get yourself debt free. for debt review this month. Consumers are definitely feeling the pinch of increased costs for basics as well as all the extra costs that January normally brings like school clothes, stationary and books etc. All of this in the wake of December, a month where many earn less








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Credit Industry Forum

are receiving a lot ore calls and applications The CIF met in December last year as well as than last year January (Jan 2013). Some January this year to discuss burning issues companies are reporting double their normal facing consumers under debt review and amount of inquires. Debt Counsellors at the moment. One topic Internationally debt review companies in the rdiscussed by the CIF sub committee was the UK are also reporting 40 -50% more calls for 2010 NCR Task Team proposals regarding help than last year. debt counselling. Another topic that is set to be discussed is Section 103(5) being ignored by credit providers. Few banks have properly NCR & Finsense introduced this restriction into their computer The NCR, who last year sent out a circular about software for various reasons. Some say it is Finsense, delayed their December meeting because their computers can’t multiple a with the firm. They are now set to meet this default balance by 2 and others say it is simply month to discuss issues. because creditors will lose out on funds that they were hoping to collect beyond this legal limit. After the meetings sub committees DCASA meet with ABSA report back to the NCR. Though the Forum The Debt Counsellors Association of South makes recommendations to the NCR, the NCR Africa met with ABSA during mid December are not obliged to accept these suggestions as to discuss complaints by DCASA members was recently seen when the NCR turned down about ABSA’s ongoing poor turnaround a proposal that Debt Counsellors and Credit times and response times to requests by Providers use a particular computer program Debt Counsellors. ABSA is reported to have (called the data switch) to send one another one of the most comprehensive and advance computer systems handling these matters but account information and proposals etc. Debt Counsellors are complaining that they are not getting information in a timeous manner from ABSA’s Debt Review Centre. A common Spike in number of comment from Debt Counsellors is that since consumers applying for ABSA took over matters from Consumer Friend debt review in January January is traditionally a slow time of year for ages ago service has been bad. Debt Counsellors but not this year. Reports are coming in from all over that Debt Counsellors

South Africa’s largest Debt Counsellors


Draft Financial Sector Regulation Bill

December saw the circulation of a draft Financial Sector Regulation Bill. The Bill will be step one in introducing the Twin Peaks financial regulatory system. Under twin peaks responsibility over the financial sector is split between 2 bodies. The first being the Reserve Bank and the second, probably, the Financial Service Board (FSB). Council of Financial Regulators The Draft mentions the creation of a Council of Financial Regulators who will co-ordinate all Regulators. The focus of the Council will be on competition, enforcement, financial stability, market conduct and legislation. First Peak The Draft Bill gives primary responsibility for financial stability to the Reserve Bank .Thus as planned the Reserve Bank will fill the role of one of the two “peaks” or top dogs in the regulatory model. FSB vs NCR under Twin Peaks Recently the FSB and the National Credit Regulator (NCR) – who oversee the debt review process and industry- have been arguing about the NCR’s future under twin peaks. The NCR asked the FSB to stop saying that they will be absorbed by the FSB or disbanded. Various parties will now comment on the draft Bill and then the actual Bill will eventually be produced and sent to Parliament. The process of introducing and bringing Twin Peaks to life is set to take a number of years as various pieces of Legislation need to be amended and changed to allow for the new regulatory model

Constitutional Court rules in favour of FRB The matter: Ferris v FRB was granted in favour of the credit provider (as have all previous judgements on this matter in all the lower courts leading up to the Con Court). This means that FRB can now proceed to sell the consumers home on auction to settle some of the debt, if they want and then ask the consumers to pay off the shortfall over time. This is because FRB are now allowed to ignore the debt restructuring court order that was previously granted. Why ignore the other “issues”? FRB did not respond to the consumers debt review proposals and the Ferris’ argued this showed bad faith (as per the Collett judgement) and wanted the debt put back into their debt review. So why did the Constitutional Court ignore this and other info about the service of 86(10) letters (as per Sebola)? Well, it comes down to one very important detail: the consumers missed a payment. This means the debt review fell away. All other considerations in the courts opinion are thus irrelevant. The missed payment showed the court that the consumers did not take the restructuring seriously. The couple failed to show good reason (in their papers) as to why they had missed a payment. Never miss a payment If you are under debt review then you should learn from this matter. Never, ever miss a payment. If you do miss a payment then you should expect to lose your assets and to end up in serious trouble.


LIVING ON LESS Times are tough and we all need to make our money stretch these days. As the cost of living increases it seems that, come the end of the month, there is always a little less cash left to enjoy life with. The Living on Less is a section of Debtfree DIGI which looks at ways wise consumers can keep their living expenses down and save funds. We also consider ways to still have some fun for less. Living on Less is about spotting a great deal and letting others know. It’s about changing our mind set to reflect the reality that times are tough and we need to get savvy. Sure times are tough but you can still have fun while Living on Less.




In South Africa education is a basic right. In fact, Section 29 (1) (a) of the Constitution says that “everyone has the right to a basic education”. In the Schools Act of 1996, the Department of Education made going to school compulsory for all children aged seven to fifteen (completion of Grade 9). An interesting consequence of this is that compulsory education places a responsibility not only on parents to send their kids to school, but also on the State to ensure that schools are accessible and affordable. In an effort to do just that the State introduced something called the School Fee Exemption policy .

School Fee Exemption Policy

ten times the school fees is R10 000, this is more than the domestic worker earns in a year. She is therefore entitled to an exemption or a reduction in fees.

This policy says that each public school, through its school governing body, must determine fees and tell parents about the exemption policy. Though this is the case you might not Partial Exemption or Reductions have heard about it or maybe you have heard Partial exemptions were available for those whose income is more than ten times the about it but are unsure if you would qualify. annual school fees but less than thirty times The Exemption of Parents from the Payment the annual fees. So eligibility for full or partial of School Fees Regulations of 1998 sets out school fee exemptions is worked out on the a means test for the granting of exemptions. basis of parental income in relation to the fees. This means test is a quick way to see if parents can qualify for an exemption (they pay no fees For Example: what so ever) or a reduction (they pay less fees). Example 1 If the joint income of the mother and father is R1 500 per month and the annual school fee is The Means Test The means test says: “If the combined annual R700 per year: gross income of the parents is less than ten 12 x R1500 = R 18 000 per year times the annual school fees per leaner, the 30 x the school fees of R700 = R 21 000 parent qualifies for full exemption.” Example 2 If the joint income of the mother and father is For Example: If a parent who is a domestic worker earns R20 000 per month and the annual school fee R800 per month (or earns R9 600 per year). is R24000 per year: And if the school fees are R1000 per year, then 12 x R20 000 = R240 000 per year

30 x the school fees of R24000 = R 720 000

more details.

In either example because the parents total How do you go about applying for a reduction income is less than 30 x the fees they qualify or exemption? for a reduction of school fees. To apply for a reduction in fees, the parent must simply do the following two things: A Fancy Formula F+ A E=100 --------C

1) Write a simple letter to the School Governing Body telling them who you are, what you earn, who your child/children are and asking to be exempted or have a reduction in fees.

F = annual school fees (per kid)

2) Provide a pay slip (or letter from the C = Combined Annual income of both parents added employer) showing how much you earns. A = any extra costs paid to the school each year together (Gross income)

If you are unemployed, or self employed, you can make an affidavit saying what you earn or reduction you might qualify for. how you support your child (e.g. on a pension There is also a fancy formula that schools use to or a child care grant). work out the annual school fees as a percentage of what parents earn each year. Depending on So if you work out 30 x the annual school fees the percentage parents can get a reduction in of your kid and it adds up to more than your school fees. Your school can help you work this monthly household income or if you see that out. The idea is the less you earn and the more the annual school fees are more than 3.5% the school fees are the higher a % reduction of your annual income then why not ask the school for a reduction in fees? you could qualify for. If the annual school fees are more than 3.5% of your annual income then you qualify for Applications need to be done before the end a discount. The bigger the percentage the of February so now is the time to consider if bigger the reduction will be. Parents with more you could qualify. Consider how such a saving than one kid at a school also qualify for bigger might help you cover other essentials like clothes, groceries, increased transport costs or reductions. maybe a way to settle your debt faster. If the school fees are 10% of your annual income then you qualify for a total exemption. E = the percentage - which tells you what kind of

If you are unsure if you qualify (because like me you hate maths and find all these figures confusing) then you should ask the school for

LETTER FROM A READER Section 88(1) What’s it all about? We received this letter from a reader (Quintin Zimmermann) discussing this interesting section of the Act. to the intention of the legislator and understand the purpose of specifically referring to a credit facility to the exclusion of all other types of credit agreements. A credit facility is the only credit agreement that allows for the re-advancing of existing credit on an ongoing basis to a consumer. Section 8(3) defines the criteria of a “credit The purpose of Section 88(1) is to prevent facility”. A typical example of a credit an already over-indebted consumer from facility is an overdraft facility. It is widely accessing more credit and thereby being held view that the National Credit Act placed even further into an over-indebted is not a model of clarity. A person could situation. interpret “not incur any further charges” as being the cost of credit charges set out Accordingly, this can only be achieved in Section 101. However, Section 88 does by preventing over-indebted consumers not reference Section 101. Furthermore, from not only entering into further credit it directs that the consumer must not agreements, but also preventing them incur any further charges as opposed to from accessing the existing credit that directing that the credit provider must not they have available to them. Hence, the impose further charges. Since a consumer proper interpretation that one should is not responsible for the imposing charges infer from Section 88(1) is that “any further on a facility, the only responsibility that charges” relates to credit charges on the can be placed on the consumer is to not account and not cost of credit charges. incur any further charges of credit on the facility. Any other interpretation of Section Quintin Zimmermann 88(1) would be inconsistent with the rest Email: of the Act, which allows for the incurring of further fees and charges, subject to the If you agree / disagree with Quintin please statutory in duplum rule set out in Section let us know and send us your letter to: 103(5). One would have to give regard NCA Section 88(1) states that a consumer under debt review “must not incur any further charges under a credit facility”. So the incurring of further charges only relates to a credit facility and not to all credit agreements.

DEBT COUNSELLORS ASSOCIATIONS ANNOUNCEMENT BOARD DCASA wishes all our members a prosperous 2014. This month DCASA has attended the Credit Industry Forum meetings and helped prepare comments which are submitted to the NCR. Regional Meeting KZN Branch - Our next meeting will be held on the 21st of Feb 2014 at the Westville Country Club. Time: 10 Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @DCASA7 for quick updates.

The BDCF end of year function was great fun. Be sure to visit the facebook page and see some photos:

We wish our members a sucessful 2014

For more information contact:

AllProDC attended the CIF subcommittee meeting in January 2014 and were able to comment extensively on the NCR Task Team Report. We will also be attending all other sub committee meetings this month. If you have comments regarding end balance differences please mail :

See you in 2014



ANNORA MOSTERT ON THE MOVE begun working in the province (officially) and has the fewest members in the region. Debtfree got to ask her a few questions about the change. We have heard you have resigned from DCASA... Why? One of my new year resolutions are to choose my battles. Certain battles are unavoidable, like climbing the next hills in our industry. There are critical decisions about the future direction of our industry to be made and I had to choose a forum who has the same questions, affinities and vision as I have.

Well known Debt Counselling figure Annora Mostert has decided that she is ready for a change. She recently announced that she will be stepping down from DCASA leadership in the Western Cape where she has played an integral role over the last few years. The Western Cape has the second largest amount of Debt Counsellors in SA at the moment. Of the 3 Different Debt Counselling Associations, the province remains split mostly between DCASA and AllProDC. The BDCF have only recently

Where are you going? After much thought and soul searching I decided to move to BDCF. [The Black Debt Counsellors Forum] What motivated your new choice? I could not resist the open and honest modus operandi of this group. The agendas are clear and differences are embraced. Every opinion and every voice is valuable and different opinions are properly negotiated and respected. I mostly agree with the vision of the way forward and we are in full agreement that the needs and rights of the debt counsellors as well as the development of the industry

must be the priority. We cannot assist consumers effectively if we cannot improve the quality of our services and raise the level of professionalism in the industry. This require a lot of uphill battles. To quote Mr Mandela: I do not care if a cat is black or white, as long as it can catch a rat.

was only a pleasure serving their needs. What did you like least (at DCASA)? The exclusion of those who could not afford the full membership from voting and the stagnant leadership.

Do you feel you will be able to work in co What role will you be playing at your new operation with DCASA about important DC matters in the future? association? I will be very involved in developing the Without question. Western Cape region and serving the needs of the debt counsellors in the Western Cape. I will DCASA have made the following comment: however also be involved in the planning and Annora has been on the DCASA NEC and rolling out of national programmes. Practical Western Cape Chair for just less than 4 years training of debt counsellors will have very high and she has played an important, constructive priority. Assessing and formulating the needs of and leading role in the DCASA NEC and DCASA debt counsellors to present to the NCR’ Credit Western Cape. During this period Annora has donated a massive amount of her time and Industry Forum will also have high priority. resources to DCASA and the Debt Counselling Industry. This is in fact a key requirement for all Any hard feelings? None whatsoever. It is all a matter of choosing DCASA NEC members. your partners according to your own style, Annora informed DCASA that she re-assessed beliefs and visions. Burning bridges and her personal and business commitments which compelled her to resigned as the Chairperson making enemies is a bad strategy. of the Western Cape. DCASA is very grateful What did you like most about being a DCASA for the hard work, time, energy and inspiration from Annora over the least 3 years. member? I have thoroughly enjoyed my role as the Western Cape representative. The members are the most amazing group of people and it



We wish our members a great year in 2014

Credit Industry Forum - latest Member Gerald Rodrigues attended the January 2014 Credit Industry Forum Subcommittee meeting regarding the 2010 NCR Task Team recommendations and was able to participate (due to the changes in our constitution made last month). The discussions showed that the NCR Task Team is now somewhat outdated and many of the things mentioned are now no longer relevant. However there was concern that changing one aspect of the report might mean that other positive aspects get thrown out by credit providers. So, in an effort to speed things along it was decided to remove some of the preamble to the NCRTT report and to split up comments made by DCs into two categories namely: old matters which have now been resolved by court cases and new issues which will have to be handled by the CIF at a later stage and maybe added as an annexure or amendment to the NCRTT report. This left only a few issues which were then reported on by the subcommittee. The recommendation has now been sent on to the NCR. Much of the focus was on practical operational issues with not too much focus on jargon or semantics rather the overall picture. Two more meetings of other sub committees will be held this month and AllProDC will be

in attendance. The meetings will relate to End balances and Section 103(5). AllProDC feel that there is a real need for practical implementation of this section of the Act. We hope to discuss issues such as: Repeat debits on accounts month after month, the cost to creditors trying to recon and provide proper balances which is quite time consuming and expensive so it may simply be easier to write off small balances. There will also be a meeting about early exiting of the debt review process. National Credit Amendment Bill Don’t forget: The DTI are holding a series of public hearings across the country this month, where our members can have their say in regard to the National Credit Amendment Bill. These public hearings will be held on 28, 29 and 30 January 2014. Representatives from AllProDC will attend and we will notify our members of the locations should they also wish to attend. CONTACT DETAILS FORUM: WEBSITE: FACEBOOK: TWITTER:

SERVICE DIRE DEBT COUNSELLING AA Debt Counselling Centre Anthea Johannes NCRDC531 Tel: +27 (0) 21 982 0522 Cell: +27 (0) 84 402 7032

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Credit Matters South Africa’s Largest Debt Counsellors 14th Floor, The Pinnacle Cnr Strand & Burg St Cape Town Tel: 086 111 6197 Fax: 021 425 6292 CS Debt Counselling Bernidene Smith NCRDC 764 057 352 4115/352 5000 Welkom - Free state Darran Manikam NCRDC704


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Debt Management & Counseling Services “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” - Nelson Mandela Derry Burge NCRDC108 140 Irene Avenue, La Concorde, Somerset West, 7130 Tel: 021 855 5997 Cell: 074 177 5375 Fax: 021 855 1195 or 0865413200 E-mail:

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Fair Finance Solutions Your debt is our priority Amanda Fair Registered Debt Counsellor NCR946 553 Jacqueline Drive Garsfontein Pretoria Tel: 0861 26 26 32 Fax: 082 921 7093 Cell: 086 564 3674 Fincorp debt Counsellors cc Cecilia Zwarts

Finesse Debt Counsellors NCR Registration No: DC1262 Address: 478 Windermere Road, Morningside, Durban, 4001 Phone: 031 209 2356/ 084 250 2356 / Fax: 086 5732433 e-mail Holistic Debt Counsellors

The best angle to approach debt is the Triangle Caledon - Western Cape Contact Person: Yolande 8 Hoop Street, 7230 Caledon Tel: 028 212 2537 Ceres - Western Cape Leyll str 61, 683 Ceres Tel: 023 312 1292 Fax: 023 312 2119 Worcester - Western Cape 71 Porter Street 6850 Longitude: 19.44305 Latitude: -33.64942 Tel: 0233420576 Fax: 086656801 Bloemfontein - Free State 94 Zastron, 9301 Bloemfontein Contact Person: Yolande Tel: +27 51 448 2828 Fax: +27 51 447 9481 Viljoenskroon - Free State 35 Denyssen Street, 7230 Contact Person: Johann Olivier Phone: +27 56 343 0352 Fax: +27 56 343 035 Welkom – Free State 329 Stateway, 9460 Welkom Contact Person: Susan Roux Email: Tel: +27 57 352 6117 Fax: +27 57-352 2355

SERVICE DIRE Helpdesk Debt Counsellors Allan Hoffman Tel: 0861 000 754 Help-U-Debt (Vaal Triangle) Wanine Tel: 082 445 3967 Help-U-Debt (Potchefstroom) Madra 083 390 3275 Help-U-Debt (Parys) Marilouise 082 920 6249 Help-U-Debt (Vanderbijlpark) Herma 083 320 8303 Incentive Debt Counselling “Paving the way to a Debt Free Tommorrow” Darran Manikam NCRDC704 Tel: (031) 409 9379 Fax: (031) 409 1327 Cell: 0845898286 Branches: Phoenix and Shallcross Indigo debt counsellors CC Tel: 087 808 9734 Fax: 086 580 8675 MG Consulting Strand - Helderberg Area Telkom : 021 853 4537 Mobile Phone: 082 450 7459 Fax Number: 0866 220 690 E-Mail: info@mgconsulting

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Mzansi Debt Counselling Octavia Hlatshwayo Tel: 011 868 1185 Fax: 0861 00 22 70 NDA Debt Counsellors Your Trusted Debt Counsellors Gary Williams (NCRDC 143) Tel: 034 315 3880 Fax: 086 612 4112 SFA Debt Relief Consultants Adri de Bruyn NCRDC998 11 Market Street / Markstraat 11, Paarl, 7646 Tel: 021 872 1968 Fax: 021 872 2678

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Information resources & services

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Attorneys servicing individual needs

Steyn Coetzee Attorneys / Prokureurs Adri de Bruyn 11 Market Street / Markstraat 11, Paarl, 7646 Tel: 021 872 1968 Fax: 021 872 2678 adri@steyncoetzee.Co.Za

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Agiliti CC Colleen Van Wyk(BCom, LLB) Tel: 083 290 0848 Tel: 011 740 7374 Fax: 086 716 9694 Website: CREDIT BUREAUS Compuscan 0861 514 131

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Debtfree DIGI January 2014  

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