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National Assembly Adopts National Credit Amendment Bill and Defence Amendment Bill

12 September 2018

In its last two plenary sessions for the third quarter for the year 2018, the National Assembly (NA) adopted the National Credit Amendment Bill [B30-2018] and the Defence Amendment Bill [B18-2017.

National Credit Amendment Bill [B30-2018]

The National Credit Amendment Bill is a Committee Bill of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry which was initiated by the ANC to develop debt relief measures for the poor and vulnerable workers.

The Bill seeks to provide debt relief measures to poor South Africans who earn less than R7, 500 per month, whose unsecured debt is not more than R50 000 and are over-indebted. These are the category of consumers who are not catered by the current insolvency system and debt administration, which remains largely creditor oriented. Debt counsellors do not provide a service for people earning less than or equal to R7 500 as this is deemed not to be "cost-effective". This therefore is a gap which the Amendment Bill intends to fill.

The Amendment Bill also aims to, among other, address reckless lending. It intends to criminalise reckless and illegal lending, and encourage and enforce responsible borrowing and lending. Credit life insurance will be prescribed in the Amendment Bill and regulations will provide for credit life insurance on all loans of less than six months and less than or equal to R50 000.

The ANC believes that this Amendment Bill is essential as the measures it puts forward will go a long way to bringing about social democracy and justice. It will strengthen the National Credit Amendment Act by addressing a critical gap that has since its enactment been identified.

As a Section 76 Bill, the Bill will be sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

Defence Amendndment Bill [B18-2017]

The Defence Amendment Bill seeks to align the Defence Act, 2002 with current departmental organisational requirements that will enhance the efficiency of the Department of Defence. These amendments are organisational in nature and apply internally to the Department of Defence.

The Bill proposes that the Chief of Staff be included in the Military Command of the Defence Force by the insertion of Section 4A. It is a practice that the Chief of Staff forms part of the military command structure. It is therefore necessary to formalise this appointment and position.

The Bill also proposes clarification of the process regarding the Chief of the Defence Forces' delegation of powers and assignment of duties to members, through the Secretary for Defence as head and accounting officer of the Department. The Secretary for Defence cannot directly delegate any of their functions to members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), without the consent of the Chief of the SANDF, as it would be contrary to the command and control principles of the SANDF.

The Bill further proposes that provision be made for the deployment of the Defence Force outside the Republic in accordance with international law. This amendment seeks to expand the international deployment of the SANDF by not only restricting it to international waters. This approach is consistent with international law.

As the ANC, we are confident that these amendments will enhance the efficiency of the Department of Defence which is one of the highest policy imperatives of our ANC Government.

Issued by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip, comrade Jackson Mthembu.

Nonceba Mhlauli

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