Eva Smith (Attorney) @ Lucid Living
Gauteng motorists with overdue traffic fines could get blacklisted on their credit reports.
And the National Credit Regulator (NCR) says its hands are tied if it wants to intervene as outstanding debt from traffic fines is not governed by the National Credit Act (NCA).
“Fines are not subject to the NCA because they are not a credit agreement,” said the NCR. “Yes, there are conditions for blacklisting such as providing the consumer with notice thereof.”
The threat to blacklisting motorists is contained in thousands of letters of demand being sent out with fines dating back to 2010 by debt collectors hired by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) to recoup more than R500 million.
The debt collectors threaten to report motorists with overdue accounts to the credit bureau – warning this could “negatively affect your personal credit report”.
“It may also adversely affect your credit status and your ability to access new finance from a bank,” read the notices.
“This process of debt collection is implemented as a more efficient and acceptable mechanism. It is the prerogative of the registrar… to authorise a warrant of execution which in themselves are a harsher penal provision,” said the agency’s registrar Japh Chuwe. “On the other hand debt collection will seek to encourage compliance from infringers by reminding them of outstanding debts and allow them further opportunity to clear their records.”
Chuwe said the agency was not in contravention of any act by engaging in the debt collection process and blacklisting offenders. He added that his agency was awarding 15 percent of all payments received under the terms of agreement to the debt collectors.