Insights into debt relief measures for low-income earners
Debt relief is important in the current credit-driven South African society where consumers live off credit for their day-to-day needs.
North-West University (NWU) LLD candidate and temporary lecturer Phemelo Magau examined debt relief measures for low-income earners during his LLM degree research.
In his dissertation titled “A Statutory Analysis of Debt Relief Measures for Low-Income Earners in South Africa”, Phemelo addresses the strengths and weaknesses of sequestration proceedings, debt review, debt intervention and administration order to promote access to such debt relief measures by low-income earners.
According to Phemelo, his research aimed to provide practical insights about the debt relief measures that are accessible and viable to low-income earners in South Africa.
“This, essentially, is done through a call for law reform of the debt relief sections in terms of the Insolvency Act, the Magistrates Courts Act, and the NCA in order to provide a more robust and accessible debt relief to help low-income earners in South Africa. The keywords are debt relief,” says Phemelo.
Phemelo says there are currently three statutory debt relief measures at the disposal of insolvent debtors in South Africa. These are the sequestration proceedings in terms of the Insolvency Act, the administration order in terms of the Magistrates Courts Act, and the debt review in terms of the National Credit Act.
The fourth debt relief measure, namely debt intervention, has recently been introduced by the National Credit Amendment Act but it has not yet come into action.
“The problem faced by low-income earners in South Africa is that the available debt relief measures are not viable and accessible to them. There are numerous regulators, entry requirements and decision making forums that are involved in the debt relief measures, thus making access to such measures difficult for low-income earners,” concludes Phemelo.