5 March 1998.

The Association of Debt Recovery Agents, which is a Section 21 Company and which has 88 members, many of which have up to 100 hundred branches, fully supports the Debt Collectors Bill in principle.



Section 3
This section provides for eight (8) members to be appointed to the Council.

Submission: The Council should be enlarged to nine (9) members.

Motivation: The bill creates a Council to regulate the conduct of debt collectors and the very people whom it seeks to regulate are inadequately represented on the Council.

Section 3(2) (b) (1)
The bill provides for "a magistrate" to be appointed to the Council.

Submission: A Civil Magistrate with at least 10 years experience should be appointed.

Motivation: It is, in our view, self evident that no good purpose would be served by appointing a magistrate whose field of speciality, for example, is the administration of criminal law, to what is essentially, a council to administer a civil law enactment.

Section (3) (2) (b) (ii)
The bill provides for an "attorney" to be appointed to the Council.

Submission: Attorneys (Section 1(a)) are excluded from the provisions of the bill and should therefore not be represented on the Council.

Motivation: Adequate legal representation is provided by the provisions of Section (3) (2) (a), which provides for the appointment of a "judge of a High Court", and Section 3 (2) (b) (i), which provides for the appointment of "a magistrate". The Association of Debt Recovery Agents can find no compelling argument why a profession expressly excluded from the effects of the bill should be represented on the Council.

Section 3(2) (b) (iii)
The bill provides for the appointment of "two debt collectors.." to the Council.

Submission: The number of debt collectors appointed to the Council should be increased to four (4) and should be appointed by the Minister from institutions or associations representing the interests of debt collectors.

Motivation: As the bill will control the activities of debt collectors, and as there are in excess of twenty thousand (20,000) persons employed in the industry, debt collectors would not be adequately represented on the Council.

As associations of debt collectors, such as the Association of Debt Recovery Agents, are representative of the organised industry, appointing debt collectors to the Council from such organisations would ensure adequate representation.

Section 5(2)
This section provides that debt collectors would always be in the minority on the Executive Committee.

Submission: That the words "Provided that the majority of the members of the Executive Committee shall be members of the Council other than those appointed in section (3(2) (b) (iii)" be deleted.

Motivation: it is clear that, as Section 5(3) provides that "Any act performed or decision taken by the executive committee shall be valid in so far as it is not varied or set aside by the council", that the provisions of Section 5(2) would serve no purpose other than to exclude debt collectors from being in a majority on the Executive Committee, and to prevent the Council from appointing persons who may be best qualified to exercise the functions of the Executive Committee to that Committee.

Section 19(1) (b)
This Section provides that "A debt collector shall not recover from a debtor any amount other than.... (b) necessary expenses and costs prescribed by the Minister in the Gazette after consultation with the Council"

Submission: That the words: "necessary expenses and costs" be substituted with the words "tariff amounts as per the tariff schedule", and that the words: "from time to time" be added to the words "prescribed by the Minister"

Motivation: These changes would avoid any amounts of expenses or costs, other than those appearing in the tariff schedule, from being levied against a debtor and would enable the Minister to revisit the tariff schedule from time to time.