Following a review of consumer credit policy by South Africa’s University of Pretoria, Parliament’s trade and industry committee heard a number of amendments intended to streamline debt counseling practices and address issues presented by the courts.
Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini introduced a bill that would exclude business-to-business and incidental credit agreements from the National Credit Act and another that would allow law officials to suspend interest accrual for up to five years to prevent financial disaster for consumers, BDlive reports.
“It is hard times,” Oriani-Ambrosini said, according to AllAfrica. “People are suffering. The legislation does not give them a break. So instead of going to the insolvency route, they try to take the hard route. I feel we need to give them a break.”
Oriani-Ambrosini’s bill was the first private member’s bill to be handled by Parliament after a court ruled a parliamentary requirement unconstitutional last year because it required members to obtain permission from the National Assembly before introducing a bill, BDlive reports.
Zodwa Ntuli, the deputy director-general at the Department of Trade and Industry, made the case against the bill’s adoption, saying that it would be better to address all proposed amendments together than on an individual basis.
Joanmariae Fubbs, the chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, noted the importance of the hearing and said that the committee would seriously consider the bill, according to AllAfrica.