Parliament’s trade and industry committee has thrown out a controversial clause in a draft bill giving the minister of trade and industry extensive powers to prescribe debt intervention measures in exceptional circumstances. All political parties agreed on Wednesday to the removal of the clause from the draft National Credit Amendment Bill. The committee plans to formally adopt the bill — which is strongly opposed by the banking industry — on August 16. The bill was proposed and developed by the committee and has been under review over the past three years. The main aim of the bill is to provide for the cancellation of debt in certain circumstances for consumers, where they have a gross monthly income of less than R7,500, have unsecured debt of no more than R50,000 and are deemed overindebted by the National Credit Regulator. The committee’s decision to remove the clause came after senior counsel Wim Trengove said in a legal opinion that giving the minister such unfettered powers wo...

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