Regulator drops debt counsellors

Johannesburg - Two debt counsellors were de-registered for transgressing their registration conditions, the National Credit Regulator (NCR) said on Tuesday.

Liezl de Klerk and Charmaine Moonasamy were removed as registered debt counsellors earlier this month after an order was handed down by the National Consumer Tribunal (NCT), the regulator said in a statement.

De Klerk and Moonasamy's business activities and compliance levels were investigated by the regulator.

It found that Pretoria-based De Klerk had failed to meet some of the National Credit Act (NCA) requirements.

“It emerged that the debt counsellor failed to comply with the provisions of the NCA, its regulations, as well as her conditions of registration as a debt counsellor,” said Obed Tongoane, NCR chief operations officer.

De Klerk received funds from consumers which contravened the conditions of her registration.

She failed to maintain records demonstrating her compliance with the act and failed to refer matters to the court, in order to obtain court orders, Tongoane said.

De Klerk also charged consumers R75 for obtaining their credit reports.

According to Nurunisa Soobrayan, the NCR's legal adviser for investigations and enforcement, a person was allowed one free credit report a year and the general cost of a report may not exceed R20 excluding VAT.

Moonasamy practised in Lenasia South in Johannesburg but was currently residing in Chatsworth, Durban.

The NCR carried out an investigation into her business activities after receiving numerous complaints.

It found that Moonasamy had provided the regulator with false information, which was a criminal offence.

She had said she was not under administration when she was.

Being placed under administration involved making an application through the Magistrate's Court to get an administrator to pay one's debts to respective credit providers, for a fee, Soobrayan said.

Being under administration would have disqualified Moonasamy from becoming a debt counsellor.

She had also received money from consumers.

An order for her to refund the consumers had been reserved for judgment by the panel which handed down the order to cancel her and De Klerk's registrations. - Sapa