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COVID-19: Be money wise

With many South Africans struggling to keep their heads above water during the coronavirus pandemic, the National Credit Regulator (NCR) says there are things people can do to ease the burden.

NCR’s Acting Manager for Education and Communication, Advocate Kedilatile Legodi, says the National Credit Act (NCA) offers some hope to people battling to repay their loans.

The NCR, which is an agency of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, says many South Africans are battling because they have lost their income or their pay has been cut.

If you are battling to pay your debt, these two NCA debt relief measures may help you:

Debt counselling/review

Debt counselling is for people with more debt than they can afford to pay. You will be given budget advice and your debt counsellor will talk to your credit providers and ask for reduced payments, an extension of the repayment term or restructuring of debt.

Debt counselling protects you against repossession or legal action by credit providers.

The NCR has a list of registered debt counsellors who operate nationwide. You can find the list on the NCR website www.ncr.org.za or by contacting the NCR at 0860 627 627.

Surrendering of goods

The NCA allows consumers to voluntarily surrender or return goods to credit providers when they can no longer afford the repayments or think they will not be able to afford the repayments in the future.

In terms of the act, credit agreements under which goods can be surrendered are instalment agreements, secured loans or leases. The credit provider will sell the returned goods in an attempt to settle the debt.

Loan money safely

Consider applying for credit life insurance when you take out a loan. It covers outstanding debt in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as death, retrenchment, unemployment, inability to earn an income, disability and others.

If you need to borrow money, you must first see if you will be able to afford the repayments. You should also only use NCR-registered credit providers.

No credit provider or money lender is allowed to keep your SASSA card, bank card or identity document and if they do so, you must report them to the police, says Legodi.   ñSAnews.gov.za