Wednesday, August 20, 2008

'Debt is like suspecting you have a terminal illness'

South Africa needs 2 500 more debt counsellors to cope with its growing consumer crisis, debt counselling company Consumer Assist said on Wednesday.

The counsellors were needed "to cope with the needs of more than six million indebted consumers, who are losing homes at the rate of 2 000 a month and 6 000 cars a month", the company's CEO Andre Snyman said in a statement.

There were only about 500 registered debt counsellors in terms of the National Credit Act, of which more than two-thirds were under the umbrella of Consumer Assist.

"The debt crisis is so serious that many more are needed. Being in debt is like suspecting you have a terminal illness," Snyman added.

"Sometimes people become so frightened of the potential diagnosis they delay going for help until it's too late -- with everything, physical health or financial health, the earlier you go for help the better the chance of a happy and successful outcome."

According to a debt counsellor with the company, Ulande Janse van Rensburg, compassion was needed to do the job.

"One client tried to commit suicide three times and his psychologistwould call from hospital and ask us to speak to him and assure him that we had his debt situation under control."

She added that many of the people who approached her weren't in trouble because they overspent.

"For some, their salaries haven't kept up with inflation, or someone in their family became very ill or they lose their job and then the people who gave them easy credit start hounding them."

According to the company, people who consulted National Credit Regulator accredited counsellors might be required to pay a R50 fee. Any fees after that could be included in the restructured payments. -

Comments by Sonny
Do away with government corruption, and write off civil societies debts!
If you take all the money wasted by state departments for dysfunctional, non-services and squander, then we would not have any debt in SA.
Eskom is a good example of this!



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