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Debt mediation requests peak

Johannesburg - Requests for debt mediation increased by 60 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, the National Debt Mediation Association (NDMA) said on Tuesday.

It said the number of cases where mediation was requested spiked from 538 in the third quarter of 2012 to 1352 in the fourth.

About 83 percent of the complaints were from the banking sector, while the remaining 17 percent were from micro-lenders, vehicle financiers, and clothing and furniture retailers.

NDMA CEO Magauta Mphahlele said although banking significantly contributed to the high number of cases, financial hardship mediation reflected the sort of accounts which were generally difficult for consumers to pay.

“The role of furniture retail and motor finance became larger, with the two contributing 16 percent and 12 percent respectively,” said Mphahlele.

Financial hardship mediation is when consumers experience difficulties making payments, usually because of retrenchments, divorces or maternity leave, and are finally issued with section 129 notices.

Mphahlele said most of the cases were complaints about slow repayments or the lack of response to debt review applications.

“Unfair termination from debt review, non-adherence to court orders and legal action taken while under debt review were also prominent.” - Sapa

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