Bad credit holders ‘won’t’ face wrath

Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has confirmed job-seekers who have a bad credit record will no longer be discriminated against by employers and be deprived of employment because of their adverse credit information.

Davies said yesterday, President Jacob Zuma has signed a law that would prevent companies from excluding those with a bad credit history.

However, the legislation was clear that such people would not qualify for jobs that deal with the handling of money.

Davies said this was a progressive step by the government to address unemployment.

The minister, who was replying to a written question by Agang SA MP Molapi Plouamma, said the enactment of the National Credit Amendment Act would allow for the automatic removal of adverse consumer credit information.

This will assist in that potential employees will not be adversely affected when they apply for jobs that do not involve handling of funds or do not involve high standards of honesty, Davies said.

He said the National Credit Regulator (NCR) will keep an eye on companies to ensure they no longer abuse the system.

He said his department and the regulator will embark on roadshows to educate members of the public about this.

In September, Cabinet expunged the adverse credit record of 1.6 million people, mainly in the public service.

The intention of the government was to prevent the blacklisting of these people as they have met their financial obligations and paid off their debts.

However, the bad credit record prevented them from getting a job, accommodation or loans from financial institutions.

The NCRs annual report last year showed that 9.5 million people had impaired credit records.

This was an increase of 500000 from 2012. There were 21 million active credit consumers in the country.

However, almost half of them have a bad credit record as they battle to settle their debts.

The government tabled the National Credit Amendment Bill late last year amid concerns from the banking industry on some of the changes to the legislation.

Zuma signed the bill into law before the elections this year.

Davies said the Act provided the necessary cover to protect consumers from being cut out of the labour market for having a bad credit record.

Plouamma said while Zuma had acknowledged during his inauguration poverty, unemployment and inequality still persisted a mechanism was needed to get people with an adverse credit record into the labour market.

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