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Cape Town - Parliament has offered to help the National Credit Regulator (NCR) deal with indebtedness in South Africa, after the regulator told MPs consumers owed R1.6 trillion.

NCR chief executive Nomsa Motshegare told the joint committees on finance and trade and industry that indebtedness in the country continued to be a problem. Motshegare said the gross debtors’ book was at R1.6 trillion in September last year, but would soon be updated to include the months up to December 2016.

Motshegare said 89 percent of mortgages were granted to individuals with income of more than R15 000 a month.

However, unsecured lending was still in the play. She said 57 percent of unsecured lending was given to people who earned less than R15 000 a month.

In addition, women accounted for 50 percent of the mortgages. Secured credit amounted to R379 million, said Motshegare.

Chairperson of the portfolio committee on trade and industry Joanne Fubbs said on Wednesday it was addressing the problem of indebtedness.

Fubbs said it had noted the issues raised by the NCR and Parliament was addressing the problem of indebtedness.

JSE chief executive Nicky Newton-King also told the joint committees that transformation was taking place in some of the listed companies.

Newton-King, however, acknowledged that more still needed to be done to get things right and meet the required transformation targets.

She said the JSE was the biggest stock exchange in Africa, trading $2 billion (R26.7 billion) a day compared to Nigeria, which is trading $10 million a day.

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However, she said more needed to be done by the government to create certainty to attract investments and grow the economy. “Our ability as South Africans to assist the growth of this country is the investment environment,” she pointed out. There needed to be policy certainty from the government, she added.

Newton-King said there also needed to be stability in the Finance Ministry and the state-owned entities.

President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his cabinet a month ago, leading to widespread protests and calls for him to go.

The reshuffle has also left the ANC and its alliance partners divided.

Newton-King said the fact that the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill has been signed into law by Zuma was a relief following delays that resulted in the bill being brought back to Parliament for a second time over its constitutionality.

She said that investors had been looking at the Fica Bill very closely and its signing into law has brought relief to the markets.