Cosatu has come out in strong support for a proposed bill to provide debt relief for the overindebted. The draft bill — the National Credit Amendment Bill — has been introduced by Parliament’s portfolio committee on trade and industry which is holding public hearings on the proposals. The banking sector is opposed to the proposals, saying that individual banks have their own effective debt relief measures and that a blanket approach will have negative consequences for the sector and result in a restriction of credit extension to low-income groups. These concerns were reiterated by Standard Bank’s head of credit risk in personal and business banking, Thabani Ndwandwe, on Friday during the public hearings. He argued for a reform of existing debt intervention mechanisms and stronger enforcement. The group targeted for debt relief by the bill are those earning a gross monthly income of not more than R7,500 who have no readily realisable assets (excluding exempted items mentioned in the ...

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