Debt Forgiveness

Debt Forgiveness

An overview of debt relief policy in South Africa

Michelle Dubois KPMG SA

Senior Manager

KPMG in South Africa


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Since 2015, the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) has considered preventative measures in an attempt to reduce and prevent future household over-indebtedness.   

A Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry was instituted to investigate the possibility of a debt relief programme.

Key findings:

  • There was great support for refining the current Debt Review processes to make provision for low income consumers and the broad utilisation of the DCRS industry agreed concession rules
  • Voluntary debt relief measures exist in the credit industry and the Banks in particular
  • Consumersare responsiblefor approaching the credit provider
  • The credit industry highlighted their reluctance for a legislated debt relief process outside of the current existing Debt Review process and the existing voluntary debt relief measures
  • The credit industry, in particular the Banks amongst other credit providers, cautioned against legislated debt relief measures and the unintended consequences
  • Other stakeholders, in particular Trade Unions and Pro-Consumer bodies, did however support debt relief for retrenched consumers with no incomeand insufficient or no credit life insurance

South Africa's debtors book

A breakdown of South Africa's debtors book

Debt forgiveness

Critical questions

As part of the legislative process public hearings were held in January 2018. The submissions to the Committee raised some critical questions, including:

Debt forgiveness - critical questions
Debt forgiveness - critical questions 2


Download our full pdf on the potenital impacts of debt relief and our one page factsheet

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