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Opportunity for consumers to start afresh

Millions of consumers could benefit from plans to have bad credit information wiped from records.

FILE: Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Close on two million consumers could benefit from government's plans to have adverse information wiped from their credit records, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Tuesday.

The minister confirmed in Parliament the plan could come into effect within three months.

"This [process] should be completed in three months."

But Davies stressed consumers would first have to pay off outstanding debts.

He says people with judgments against them will not qualify.

"This doesn't mean that you don't owe the money that you owe."

Davies rejected suggestions the move is intended as an election ploy ahead of the 2014 General Elections.

At the same time, government is also moving to ensure that people's ability to repay is checked more rigorously before they're given credit.

Davies says the information provided by credit bureaus isn't always sufficient.

The minister says many companies and money-lenders rely on garnishee orders for debt repayments instead of carrying out proper assessments of someone's ability to pay.

"We want them to undertake more rigorous, more robust affordability assessments. We will be complimenting this exercise with new measures to require stronger affordability assessments."

The National Credit Amendment Bill was introduced in Parliament in October.

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