1887

n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - Onagsame wetsopstelling - die Nasionale Kredietwet op die operasietafel

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Abstract

Otto von Bismarck was 'n beroemde Duitse staatsman wat, soos Winston Churchill, heelwat wyshede kwytgeraak het. Hy het blykbaar by geleentheid gesê sal nie snags slaap as hulle weet hoe wors en wette gemaak word nie. Hy word in Engels soos volg aangehaal: "Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made." Elders word hy soos volg aangehaal: "Je weniger die Leute darüber wissen, wie Würste und Gesetze gemacht werden, desto besser schlafen sie Nachts." Hoe dit ookal sy, die wetmakende proses is meestal 'n lang en omslagtige oefening in enige demokratiese staat. Daar is individue wat die eerste konsep opstel, hetsy by wyse van 'n solopoging, hetsy as 'n span. Daarna lewer mense kommentaar op die wetsontwerp, belangegroepe raak deel van die proses en uiteindelik beland die dokument in die parlement waar dit binne en buite komitees gedebatteer word. Die Nasionale Kredietwet het ook sy eiesoortige paadjie geloop voordat dit uiteindelik landsreg geword het. Die aanvanklike wetsontwerp is landswyd bespreek en talle mense en instansies het insette gelewer. Van die vertoë wat gerig is, het tot 'n hele paar belangrike wysigings aan die oorspronklike konsepwet gelei dog, soos dit maar met so 'n proses gaan, was nie alle vertoë aptytlik vir die uiteindelike besluitnemers nie en het daar in der waarheid later nuwe goggas ingesluip. Die wet het stuksgewys in werking getree en is sedert 1 Junie 2007 deel van die kommersiële landskap van Suid-Afrika. Die wet het nie 'n amptelike Afrikaanse naam of teks nie. Dit staan in Engels bekend as die "National Credit Act" en daar sal in hierdie bydrae, soos wat andersins van meet af aan gedoen is, na die wet verwys word as die Nasionale Kredietwet.


The National Credit Act 34 of 2005 has been around for quite a while. Very few pieces of legislation, except the Constitution of 1996, have led to so many reported cases and inspired such a large number of articles by writers in recent years than this important piece of consumer legislation. The reasons are simple. Many of the act's provisions are badly drafted whilst the act deviates from basic principles of the South African common law without spelling out the consequences thereof. Some of the act's provisions have been trenchantly criticised by judges - and has been torn apart to an extent of no other recent act of parliament of which I am aware. Not everything about the act is bad, not by any means. It served South Africa well during the global debt crisis and credit crunch. In fact, the act came on the statute books just in time as far as this is concerned. However, despite its good points the act, like any consumer legislation, particularly new legislation that represents a clean break from the past, must be revisited and revised from time to time. To point out all the shortcomings in the National Credit Act will be a mammoth task requiring a large number of articles or indeed quite a number of dissertations. In this article only a selection of themes are commented on. And even with this selection the writer had to concentrate on sub-themes in order not to overburden the article.
The themes selected for discussion are the following:
(i) The scope of application of the act. In particular, the unlimited application to natural persons and the rather limited application to small juristic persons are scrutinised.
(ii) Definitions. The definitions of "mortgage agreement", "secured loan", "lease", "incidental credit agreement" and "credit guarantee" come under the spotlight.
(iii) Jurisdiction of the magistrates' courts. The particular problem that is addressed in this regard is the applicability or not of section 28(1)(d) of the Magistrates' Courts Act 32 of 1944.
(iv) Enforcement of debt. The meaning of the word "enforce" in the act, and the inconsistent and confusing use of terminology such as "terminate", "cancel" and "enforce" is discussed.
Recommendations are made regarding the issues raised in this article that the legislature may consider when the act is up for amendment.
Finally, it is pointed out that there are many other problems regarding the interpretation and application of the act that need to be attended to. These may stand over for another occasion or left to the substantial and pleasing number of writers, many of whom are referred to in this article, who have ably commented on the act over the last couple of years.

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2013-01-01
2016-12-06
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