Debt Collectors Amendment Bill Sees Adversity

The professions of attorneys who do debt collecting as well as debt collectors are threatened if the Debt Collectors Amendment Bill, 2016, is passed as law in South Africa.   The only hope to avert this happening would be a significant challenge against the Bill from the public.

Concerns have luckily been voiced by the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) and they have challenged the Bill. The Debt Collectors Amendment Bill, 2016 seeks to make generalised claims regarding the actions and roles of debt collection attorneys and debt collectors. Professionals cannot practice law by generalisations.

In a multitude of cases, debt collectors have abused their rights in the past and used techniques that verged on being unconstitutional and this was especially the case regarding emolument attachment orders. As a result of the abuse of these debt collectors, the Bill was drafted.  According to the LSSA, however,  the Bill has been drafted to counter the conduct of relatively few debt collectors and debt collection attorneys that are already being phased out with the amendments to the Magistrates’ Courts Act 32 of 1944 and existing regulation.

The independence of those in the legal profession will ultimately be removed by making everyone subject to the Council of Debt Collectors.  In the event of the Bill being passed, it will remove debt collectors who have made minor omissions from being registered as debt collectors. They would, therefore, lose their profession and an income.  If a debt collector has not registered on the Council, any agreements between debt collectors and their clients both before and after the Bill is passed,  will be deemed invalid.  This will result in a loss of business and litigated circumstances which could cripple the profession for a considerable amount of time.

For the legal profession, it is extremely important to remain independent. There are many more reasons why the Bill is facing adversity, and it is imperative that objection is forthcoming from the general public in order to ensure that it is not passed.

JA Attorneys’ legal debt collection practices are highly effective. Contact us today with your urgent matter.