Indebted to the Credit Ombud
Investor confidence in South Africa should receive a boost from the message presented at the 10 year celebration of the establishment of the Credit Ombud of South Africa.
Managing debt well is a fundamental practice of any economy and if that can be achieved at the micro level directly reaching the consumer, then what impact would consumer behaviour have at the macro level?
Manie van Schalkwyk, the outgoing Ombudsman, referred to the annual report in his remarks. He expressed the joys and frustrations of setting up and operationalizing such an office in a South Africa where no such office existed before.
As he pointed out the figures and chartered the course of the Ombud’s work over the past 10 years, the significance of this office became abundantly clear.
The unresolved credit crisis currently enveloping Europe and the USA has also had consequences on other economies around the globe including South Africa.
The National Credit Act (2005), which saw the establishment of the National Credit Regulator, together with the work of the office of the Credit Ombud,were instrumental in minimizing the impact, especially for financially distressed consumers.
Money is considered an emotive and personal matter in a society today that is much influenced by material status. Dealing with a person’s finances in a manner that does not judge ability or character but provides a resolution to both the consumer and the provider is why Nicky Lala Mohan has been named as the next Credit Ombudsman of South Africa.
Lala-Mohan brings with him a wealth of experience, having worked in the banking and credit industry for more than two decades. He previously served as Chair of the Ombud’s Council, not only is he familiar with the workings of the office but his passion for credit and consumer law will enable him to continue the good work of the office.
The ongoing challenge of keeping the consumer and the credit provider informed and updated with information and news will be one of the areas of focus for the new Ombudsman.
It is, after all, the consumer that is the driver of the economy and their informed and educated interaction with business that leads to a healthy economy.
- K Bhana