TERMINATION OF DEBT REVIEW IN TERMS OF SECTION 86(10) OF THE NATIONAL CREDIT ACT AND THE RIGHT OF A CREDIT PROVIDER TO ENFORCE ITS CLAIM Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd v Kruger (unreported case number 45438/09 (GSJ)) and Standard Bank of South Africa L
Keywords:termination of debt review proceedings, credit provider’s right to enforce its claim, debt review process
One of the purposes of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (NCA) is to protect consumers by inter alia providing mechanisms for resolving overindebtedness. Section 86 of the NCA provides for such measure in that it allows a consumer to apply to a debt counsellor to conduct a debt review of the credit agreements to which he is a party and to be declared over-indebted. One of the first steps in the debt review process is therefore, a determination by the debt counsellor whether the consumer is over-indebted, likely to become over-indebted, or not over-indebted at all. Where the debt counsellor concludes that the consumer is indeed over-indebted, section 86(7)(c) requires of the debt counsellor to issue a proposal recommending that the Magistrate’s Court make an appropriate order to declare one or more of the consumer’s credit agreements to be reckless credit (if applicable) and/or to re-arrange or restructure the
consumer’s obligations. In terms of section 86(8)(b) the debt counsellor is also obliged to refer the recommendation to the Magistrate’s Court for a hearing under section 87. In Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd v Kruger (unreported case number 45438/09 (GSJ)) and Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd v Pretorius (unreported case number 39057/09 (GSJ)) the court (Kathree-Setiloane AJ)
had to interpret section 86(10) of the Act which provides as follows: “If a consumer is in default under a credit agreement that is being reviewed in terms of this section, the credit provider in respect of that credit agreement may give notice to terminate the review in the prescribed manner to – (a) the consumer; (b) the debt counsellor; and (c) the National Credit Regulator, at any time at least 60 business days after the date on which the consumer applied for debt review.” The court had to determine whether the credit provider in casu was entitled to terminate the debt review in terms of section 86(10) and thereafter to proceed with the enforcement of the credit agreements in circumstances where the debt counsellor had referred the debt review matter to the Magistrate’s Court for a hearing in terms of section 87 of the Act. In what follows, the facts and decision in Kruger and Pretorius will be analysed and commented on. In addition, relevant provisions of the Act pertaining to the termination of debt review proceedings and the credit provider’s right to enforce its claim will also be interpreted and commented on. Regarding the credit provider’s right to enforce its claim the position where the debt review process is still pending whilst the matter has not been referred to the Magistrate’s Court for determination yet, will be distinguished from the position where the matter has indeed been referred to the Magistrate’s Court.
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