On Wednesday, Parliament’s trade and industry committee adopted the controversial Debt Relief Bill, which is intended to help the heavily indebted. The proposed amendments to the National Credit Amendment Bill — strongly opposed by the banking industry and the DA — will now go to the National Assembly for adoption. The bill was proposed and developed by the committee itself over the past two and a half years in response to the financial distress experienced by the heavily over-indebted. The bill provides for the extinguishing of the debt of heavily indebted consumers who earn a gross monthly income of no more than R7,500; have unsecured debt amounting to R50,000; and who have been found to be critically indebted by the national credit regulator. The Treasury estimates that the debt-relief proposals could result in the write-off of R13.2bn to R20bn of debt, which is the total amount of debt falling under the debt-extinguishing provisions of the bill.

The banking industry is opp...

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