Staff Writer @ Lucid Living
The National Credit Regulator (NCR) has received 443,828 calls since its inception, according to its acting CEO Nomsa Motshegare, who was speaking at a debt management and savings outreach programme in Soweto.
Motshegare added that the NCR had recorded over a million hits on its website since it was launched and it had also received 12,080 complaints from consumers and resolved 97% of these.
“The NCR has conducted 654 investigations, making those cases where consumers stood to lose their homes a priority,” she said. A total of 55 compliance notices were issued and 30 cases were referred to the National Consumer Tribunal (NCT).
“During 2010/2011, R34 million was refunded to consumers due to interventions by the NCR.”
In terms of debt counsellors, 146 had been investigated.
“By analysing consumer complaints as well as investigations and court judgments, we can start identifying contentious issues and exploring new ways to combat over-indebtedness via legislative and non-legislative means,” Motshegare added.
She said an informed consumer was a protected one, which is why the NCR had an extensive consumer awareness programme in place. “We conduct workshops for trade unions, NGOs, tribal authorities, companies etc.
“The NCR also works closely with the Consumer Protection Forum (CPF) which comprises of other regulatory bodies and the nine provincial consumer affairs offices.”
She added that the NCR also engaged with debt counsellors, credit bureaus, credit providers and the National Debt Mediation Association (NDMA), as well as the South African Savings Institute (SASI) in matters dealing with consumer credit.
SA’s consumers presently owed credit providers around R1.27 trillion. Mortgages represented 62% and the balance consisted of vehicle finance, store and credit card debt and personal loans.
Consumers classified to be in good standing currently represented 53.8%, while the number of consumers with impaired records had slightly improved. The number, however, was still too high, added Motshegare.
Furthermore, the NCR had registered 4,815 credit providers, 2,023 debt counsellors and 11 credit bureaus.