SA's ballooning consumer debt crisis will not be addressed by government-sponsored debt write-offs, says Banking Association SA MD Cas Coovadia. The National Credit Amendment Bill, which gives the National Credit Regulator the power to write off debts of up to R50,000, has been passed by parliament and is waiting only for President Cyril Ramaphosa's signature to become law. But although 9.4-million people may benefit, it won't be for long, says Coovadia. "Let's not run away from the fact that the demand for credit is not going to go down until we address broader socioeconomic issues," he says. The so-called "debt forgiveness" law will make life harder for everyone except loan sharks. "If we start sending out the sorts of messages that say that under certain circumstances debt will be expunged, then we're creating moral havoc in the sector," says Coovadia. It will introduce more risk into the system. The cost of credit will go up, making it more difficult for those who are managing t...

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