Is Debt Relief Plan Assistance/Court Mediation for me?
|Answer these questions to determine if Debt Relief Plan or Court Mediation is for you:|
|Are you in arrears and been served with a section 129 notice, letter of demand or summons AND you have not gone under debt counselling?|
|Has your account been handed over to outside debt collection agents, including attorneys?|
|Is your car or house in the process of being repossessed or auctioned with or without a court order?|
|Do you have judgements or adverse listing that you want to settle and remove from your credit report?|
If you answered yes to any of the questions above you might need Debt Relief Payment Assistance which can assist you to:
What is Debt Relief Plan Assistance?
With credit agreements that are regulated by the National Credit Act (NCA), the legal process usually commences with:
Debt Relief Assistance can be applied at any stage of the legal process as explained above, even where the credit provider has a court order but has not yet executed it. Instead of approaching a lawyer, you can approach the NDMA debt counsellor to assist you with making payment arrangements.
Protection from Legal Action for section 129 arrangements or DRP Plans
In terms of section 130(3)(c) of the National Credit Act a credit provider cannot proceed with legal action under the following circumstances:
When the matter is being considered by a debt counsellor, alternative dispute resolution agent, consumer court or Ombud with Jurisdiction or when the consumer has;
Benefits of a Debt Relief Plan (DRP)
It is important to note that the success and the outcome of negotiation of payment arrangements are not
guaranteed but we have achieved a success rate of above 80% in more than 5000 cases we have negotiated since 2010. The status of the account in terms of the arrears, the stage of collection or legal process, previous arrangements made and your historical payment behaviour will determine the outcome of the negotiations. It is therefore important to act early and avoid making any arrangements that you will not be able to honour or without first seeking expert advice. The benefits of making payment arrangements are:
The Debt Relief Assistance Process:
Credit Provider Rights:
What is a Debt Relief Plan?
Where you are in arrears, have received a section 129 notice, summons or been handed over and you have opted not to go under debt counselling, the NDMA will arrange a debt relief plan for you. It is a negotiated repayment plan for each credit agreement that is meant to allow you to catch up or manage arrears:
How does a Debt Relief Plan work?
The advantages of a Debt Relief Plan:
Things to consider:
Court Annexed Mediation
The CEO of the NDMA, Magauta Mphahlele has been appointed and accredited as a Court Annexed Mediator by the Minister of Justice on the advice of the Mediation Panel. She is number 143 on the published Mediator List. Magauta specialises in credit, consumer protection and rental disputes. The NDMA will therefore be able to assist you if you are threatened or are in the process of being taken to court and you approach the Court for Mediation. The NDMA specialises in car repossessions, property auctions, debt collection, rental disputes and consumer contracts.
Should you have received summons to appear in any of the pilot courts you approach the mediation clerk in the Civil Section at the Magistrate’s Court which has jurisdiction in respect of the dispute. The clerk will arrange for the parties to attend a meeting to assess whether their dispute can be submitted to a mediator. Mediation will be rendered at dedicated rooms identified as Therisano Centres.
There are no court fees, but the mediator is entitled to charge a fee according to a fixed tariff. You can request a list of courts where Court Mediation is offered as well as the tariffs at
Below are Frequently Asked Question as outlined by the Department of Justice.
What is Court Annexed Mediation?
It is a process by which a mediator assists the parties in a legal dispute by:
Where do I go for mediation services?
You approach the mediation clerk in the Civil Section at the Magistrate’s Court which has jurisdiction in respect of the dispute. The clerk will arrange for the parties to attend a meeting to assess whether their dispute can be submitted to a mediator. Mediation will be rendered at dedicated rooms identified as Therisano Centres.
What are the benefits of mediation?
Which matters can be referred for mediation?
Most disputes are appropriate for mediation, as long as the court has jurisdiction in respect of the matter. Examples are contractual claims; motor vehicle collision and other damages claims; neighbourhood disputes and family disputes.
Will there be court fees?
There are no court fees, but the mediator is entitled to charge a fee according to a fixed tariff. The parties contribute equally to this fee, which must be paid before the mediation commences. The mediator will be a person that the parties choose, with the help of the mediation clerk, from a panel of accredited mediators appointed by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services. All mediators have undergone mediation training. Some specialise in particular types of matters, such as family disputes. The clerk will advise you as to which of the mediators is appropriate for your dispute, depending on factors such as area of practice and experience.
Will the mediator tell the parties who is right and who is wrong?
No, a mediator does not judge the parties or tell them what the solution to their dispute is. It is for them to find a solution that meets their needs and interests. The task of the mediator is to assist them to do this. The mediator will help them to identify the real issues and explore different options for resolving those issues. The mediator assists them, using skills acquired through training and experience, to diffuse conflict and explore options for settlement.
If the parties reach agreement the mediator will assist them to draft a settlement agreement. The settlement agreement is enforceable in law as a contract. It can be given additional strength by having it made an order of court, if the parties agree to this. If the parties are unable to settle their dispute through mediation then they may still resort to litigation and adjudication.
Do I need to be represented by a lawyer?
No, parties have the right to be represented if they want to be, but this is not obligatory. Parties who are represented will be responsible for the fees of their legal practitioners. It is the task of the mediator to ensure a fair and structured process with a level playing field, irrespective of whether parties are represented by lawyers or not. Parties can also request that a friend or family member be allowed to be present during the mediation to lend support.
Can mediation be used where litigation has already commenced?
Yes, matters can be referred for mediation at any stage during the court process before a judgement has been given.
How long does the process of mediation take place?
Simple disputes can often be resolved within a few days. More complex disputes may take a few weeks.
What happens in an event where mediation has resulted in a positive outcome but one of the parties later fails to comply with their agreement?
If the agreement has been made an order of the court then it can be enforced through the Sheriff of the Court in the same way as any order of a civil court. If it has not been made an order of the court, then it is enforceable in the law in the same way as any other legal binding agreement.
Which Courts offer Court Mediation?
The Justice Department has appointed Clerks of Courts to manage requests for Mediation in 12 courts in the Gauteng and the North West Provinces. Johannesburg, Protea, Randburg, Krugersdorp, Kagiso, Palm Ridge, Pretoria North and Soshanguve in Gauteng are ready to go. In the North West Mmabatho, Temba and Potchestroom are ready to go. For rules and fees please visit the Justice Department Website at www.dojcd.gov.za
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT THE NDMA OR COURT-ANNEXED MEDIATION PROJECT OFFICE
TEL: 012 315 4615/6