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Product Guide: Debt Busters

Debt Busters

To date, there are over 10 million South Africans who have fallen into arrears on their debt repayments. Debt is quickly becoming a widespread problem, affecting people with diverse incomes and backgrounds.

DebtBusters aims to help this issue from affecting people:

  • They have helped over 60 000 individuals get back on track with their finances
  • They have saved our clients over R450 million in interest and fees
  • They have reduced interest rates on our clients’ accounts from an average of 21% to 7%
  • They have saved our clients R1.3 million on cases where money has been lent recklessly
  • They have saved 524 homes and vehicles from being repossessed in the last 18 months 

DebtBusters believes in giving South African consumers a second chance to build a brighter financial future. The stories they hear from their clients, about how they have been able to transform their lives through debt counselling, is at the core of what drives DebtBusters.

  • They are South Africa’s most TRUSTED Debt Counsellor and have been since 2007.
  • They are driven by our seven values and pride ourselves in building lasting relationships with our clients.
  • Their teams have bright, dedicated and service oriented people who are passionate about helping clients.
  • Their staff continually improve what they do so that they can deliver innovative and unique financial services.

DebtBusters is part of Intelligent Debt Management (IDM Group) which was founded in April 2004. The IDM Group has established itself as South Africa’s leading and largest debt management company. IDM offers comprehensive advice and a host of highly effective solutions to South African consumers who are facing tight budgets and are struggling with debt.

IDM operates from a centralised office in Cape Town, South Africa, from which more than 350 employees service clients nationally.


What is debt review?

Debt review is the process whereby a debt counsellor assesses client’s outstanding debts, consults with credit providers on the client’s behalf and assists the client in establishing an affordable monthly payment plan that incorporates both earning and living expenses. 

Why use a debt counsellor?

The National Credit Act (NCA) formally introduced debt counsellors, in order to assist consumers with managing their debts. DebtBusters has extremely qualified, knowledgeable and supportive debt counsellors, that will negotiate with credit providers on the behalf of clients, as well as design and implement an affordable debt repayment plan. DebtBusters debt counsellors aim to empower clients to take control of their finances, as well as their future financial decisions. 

When I am under debt review, will my outstanding debt keep growing?

Debt review in South Africa was implemented in 2007, as a means for regulating unethical debt management companies and practices. DebtBusters is a debt management company situated in Cape Town, which targets South African consumers struggling with debt. 

What happens once debt review has been completed? Can I buy a house, car, etc?

While a client is under debt review, the credit bureaus will flag their profile as 'under debt review', which will prevent the client from borrowing any more funds during the process. However, once the client has paid off their debt, DebtBusters will send a clearance certificate to the creditors, notify the NCR, as well as the credit bureau, via the NCR Debt Help system 

If my unsecured debt is paid off under debt review, what happens with my bond?

Once you have finished paying off your unsecured debt, settled your vehicle finance account/s and your home loan account is up to date you will qualify to receive a clearance certificate. All DebtBusters requires are the paid-up letters which prove all the accounts included under Debt review are now settled. 

Why must debt review fees be paid to your debt counsellors?

Debt Counselling is a formal process, which is governed by the National Credit Act. Your monthly debt repayment amount is specific to your situation and how much you owe on your debt in total. 

Must all debt review clients go to court?

All debt review cases must either go to the Magistrate's Courts or the National Credit Tribunal, in order to be rubber-stamped, as per the National Credit Act. However, there is the possibility that a client may need to be present in court. 

Will debt counselling impact employment opportunities?

When going under debt counselling in South Africa, certain individuals have faced a number of difficulties in the past with regards to employment opportunities. This is due to the fact that when the debt counselling process was introduced in South Africa, many employers did not have the correct understanding of how it actually worked. However, today, signing up for debt counselling should not have any impact on your current job or on future employment opportunities and prospects. 

Can I still rent the property if I am under debt review?

Debt review is not a credit agreement, therefore allowing clients to rent the property if they are under the process. 

Why is debt review better than making other arrangements?

Under debt review, clients are legally protected, as long as they pay their rehabilitation payments on time, every month. 

I have heard lots of bad reports about debt review, why should I trust DebtBusters?

In January 2008, DebtBusters the innovative, reliable and established debt management company was launched in South Africa. DebtBusters plays an integral part of the Intelligent Debt Group (IDM) and offers a new approach to dealing with financial issues. DebtBusters has more than 12,000 satisfied clients to date and has developed strong relationships with reputable credit providers. 

Why is debt review better than a debt consolidation loan?

If a client has missed previous debt payments or has had legal action implicated against them, then a debt consolidation loan will not be an option, as no credit provider will lend the client money at a reasonable interest rate. 

Do credit providers continue charging fees when I am under debt review?

If the client’s proposal solves under the debt counselling rules engine (DCRS), as per 80% of proposals do, then the banks will reduce the monthly fees & interest rates on their system, upon acceptance by the creditor. 

Can I apply for more credit or use my credit cards while under debt review?

No, clients will not be allowed or able to apply for more credit or use their credit cards, while under debt review 

What happens to debt review after a divorce settlement has been finalised?

If you get divorced while you are under debt review and you have the debt review court order in place, then this will need to be rescinded and for new applications to be started as it will now need to be seen as two single applications. 

Do I need debt counselling?

Debt is a widespread problem in South Africa that is rapidly increasing through the country and the majority of consumers are now in need of debt counselling Determining whether you are in debt and in need of debt counselling can be done by asking yourself the following questions: 

Can I apply for debt counselling if I am unemployed?

Unfortunately, clients are not able to apply for debt counselling if they are unemployed. However, if the client is married “in community of property” and their partner works, then the client will be allowed to apply for debt counselling as a joint application. 

Will my details be sent to the credit bureaus and my credit providers if I apply for debt counselling?

With regards to debt review, all credit bureaus and credit providers will be notified that the client has applied for the debt solution. However, with DebtBusters debt management solution, only the clients credit providers will be notified. 

Can I apply for debt counselling if I already have judgements against me?

Clients can still contact DebtBusters if they already have judgements against them. However, DebtBusters insist that clients inform the company of their situation and do not fail to disclose any information, as omitting to provide certain information can have serious repercussions with the credit providers. 

Will debt counselling cover all my debts?

DebtBusters will include home loans, vehicle finance, credit cards, overdrafts, store cards, personal loans and micro loans in the debt counselling process. 

We are married in community of property. Does my partner need to apply for debt counselling?

Yes. If clients are married in community of property, they are classified as one estate, thus both the clients have to apply as a joint application. 

Can the credit providers change their mind after the debt counselling proposal has been agreed upon?

Credit Providers are not allowed to change their minds once the debt counselling proposal has been agreed upon. As long as clients maintain their payment to the credit providers each month, they are unable to take further action. 

When I am under debt counselling, how much will I have to pay to the credit providers each month?

A DebtBusters consultant will go through the client’s budget and advise the client on the optimal affordable amount which is available to pay credit providers. This amount will be determined after the clients living expenses and those of their dependents, have been accounted for. 

What happens if I miss my monthly repayments when I am under debt counselling?

If clients miss a monthly repayment, the credit providers will terminate the client’s debt review and start legal proceedings, which will include judgements and garnishee orders. 

If I am under debt counselling, can I get a job overseas?

Clients are able to move and work overseas, however DebtBusters insists that clients advise them beforehand. 

What do I do if I am under debt counselling and a credit provider phones or harasses me?

DebtBusters suggest that clients advise the credit providers that they have applied for debt review in terms of section 86 of the National Credit Act. If the credit providers ask for proof, clients will be able to show them their DebtBusters receipt. 

What if I am under debt counselling and I am sent legal documents?

Clients must notify DebtBusters immediately, by calling 086 1989 899. The documents may be a S129 letter informing the client that legal action has started, or a summons has been submitted. 

What is the maximum number of years that a person could be on debt counselling?

There is not a maximum period of time, although debt counsellors try to get matters to solve in a time that is not excessive. The time period depends on how much debt you have, the interest rate and how much you can pay back each month. By paying back more the debt should reduce faster. 

Do I have to attend an interview in order to apply for a debt solution?

A formal interview conducted on the DebtBusters premises is not required in order to purchase a debt solution. Most debt related processes can be handled over the phone, however certain documents need to be signed by clients and returned to the debt counsellor. 

Can I exclude bonds (home loans) from debt review?

DebtBusters does not recommend that you exclude your home loan from the debt review process. . The National Credit Act implemented the inclusion of your homeloan in the debt review process, to assist consumers with keeping their homes. The NCA requires that all debt agreements are included in the debt review. 

What is the difference between debt review, administration and sequestration?

Debt review, Administration and Sequestration are viable debt solutions, offered by DebtBusters to South African consumers struggling to make their debt repayments are faced with financial difficulty. All debt solutions are implemented through DebtBusters systematic business processes, however they have several differentiating factors. 

Can DebtBusters help me if I am in Cape Town?

DebtBusters operate nationwide, from a central office as common practice, as all banks operate from central offices. Operating from one place helps DebtBusters better control business processes and develops them when the need arises. 

What happens if all or some of my credit providers do not accept the debt repayment plan?

Credit providers have the right to reject the debt repayment plans constructed by DebtBusters. DebtBusters will do their best to construct a new repayment plan for the credit providers 

What if I am under debt review and a credit provider tries to make a new arrangement directly with me?

Clients should never make any promises or arrangements with a credit provider without first discussing the matter with DebtBusters. This tactic is often used by credit provider staff who are working under commission, or by debt collection firms working on behalf of the credit providers. 

Why do credit providers not reduce interest rates in all cases?

As per the National Credit Act the credit providers do not have to reduce interest rates. The good news is that many credit providers are willing to reduce interest rates so that a consumer can get out of debt in a reasonable period of time. 

What is reckless lending?

Reckless lending occurs when a credit provider lends money without doing an affordability assessment on the consumer. If you feel you have a case of reckless lending get in touch with DebtBusters. 

Does it make a difference if I own my home or not?

No, we will be able to advise you either way. 

What is the credit process?

The following steps map out the process involved with purchasing an item on credit, applying for a loan, or extending the credit limit on your store card and the actions taken by credit providers and credit bureaus. 

What is a credit report?

Credit reports display both positive and negative information based on the actions you have taken with regards to your credit. The following information may be present on your credit report: 

Are you experiencing problems with a credit bureau?

The Credit Ombud has permission to intervene and resolve any complaints about credit information held by a credit bureau if they relate to the following topics: 

What is the sequestration process?

What is sequestration? Sequestration is a legal process that can be explained by reading the following steps. Also, find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of sequestration. 


What is a section 129 notice? The following tips will help you better understand what a section 129 notice. Read further and get up to date information on how to identify a section 129 notice, as well as consumer tips on a section 129 notice. 

What is the difference between a section 129 letter and a letter of demand?

The following table represents the difference between a section 129 notice and a letter of demand. 

What is prescription?

Prescription was introduced as means of protecting South African consumers from unscrupulous credit providers, who are accountable for recklessly lending credit and have contributed to the detrimental debt crisis South Africa currently faces. 

What is an emoluments attachment order?

The following information is related to Emoluments Attachment Orders (EAO): 

Is debt consolidation effective in the long run?

I would like to apply for debt consolidation, but I am worried about whether it will be effective in the long run. I am in a financial situation, ridden with debt, which I have never been in before. I owe so much money to my credit providers. I do not know where to begin. I owe R25000 for my credit card, R50000 personal loan, R26000 overdraft and I have to pay R4300 for my child’s school fees every month. 

How do I eradicate debt, accumulated as a result of job loss?

My husband and I both had good jobs and we have always been able to afford our expenses. Due to the recession and the poor economic circumstances in South Africa, my husband was retrenched and lost his job. 

Is there a way to settle outstanding debt without going under debt counselling?

Is there a way to settle outstanding debt without going under debt counselling? I have approximately R300 000 worth of debt, which comprises personal loans and credit card accounts, which I would like to settle. 

How can I stick within my monthly budget?

I am earning a good income, but I am struggling to make ends meet. Can you please advise on how I can sort out my debts and still stick within my budget? I do not want to impair my credit history, as I would like to purchase a house one day in the near future. 

Is there a way to consolidate all my loans into one, in order to pay one amount?

Your situation is what one would refer to as the classic “debt cycle”, whereby individuals borrow too much credit that they can no longer afford to pay off and therefore end up taking out additional larger loans in order to pay off their current accrued debt. The problem is, eventually you will no longer be able to meet your debt repayments as your debt will become unaffordable. 

What do I do if I am a victim of fraud and my credit record has been breached?

My credit record has been breached and I have become a victim of Fraud. I was contacted by Telkom a few months ago, stating that I owed R2000 and that I am to make the payment before my landline is terminated. However, I do not have a landline at home and I do not use any Telkom related services. 

What is a credit bureau?

A credit bureau collects and stores data supplied by credit providers. The data is used to draw up a record of how consumers manage their credit. Credit bureaus fulfill the duty of gathering data and compiling reports on individual consumers and allocate them a credit score. 

DebtBusters Fee Structure

Comparison Overview:

  • Product: Fee Structure
  • Application/initiation fee: An Application fee of R50 + VAT in terms of the National Credit Act, Schedule 2 (2).
  • Rejection fee: A rejection fee of R300.00 (excluding VAT) when an application for debt review is rejected.
  • Restructuring fee: A Restructuring fee less or equal to the first instalment of the debt re-arrangement plan with a maximum of R6000 (excluding VAT)
  • Monthly fee: A monthly After-care fee of 5% (excluding VAT) of the monthly instalment of the debt re-arrangement plan with a maximum of R400 (excluding VAT) for a period of 24 months. Thereafter 3% (excluding VAT) with a maximum of R400 (excluding VAT) for the remaining period.

Product Overview

DebtBusters believes in giving South African consumers a second chance to build a brighter financial future. The stories they hear from their clients, about how they have been able to transform their lives through debt counselling, is at the core of what drives DebtBusters. DebtBusters debt counselling process helps clients who are struggling to make debt payments, by entering them into a structured debt repayment plan with their credit providers, in order to ensure they take firm control of their financial situation and settle their short and long-term debt. DebtBusters has mandates with 95% of credit providers to extend the terms and reduce interest rates down to zero if necessary. DebtBusters aim to get clients debt free in 60 months. With 90% of DebtBusters debt review proposals to credit providers being accepted, debt counselling can be considered as a highly effective method of becoming debt free.


  • Debt counsellors will formally review the client’s finances, develop a suitable monthly budget and negotiate with credit providers on their behalf
  • Enables clients to make monthly debt repayments
  • Relieves clients from creditors hassling for money
  • Prevents clients from declaring bankruptcy
  • Maps out the path for reducing bad debt and becoming debt free
  • Decreases summonses and judgements against clients
  • DebtBusters debt counsellors will educate clients about their financial rights and how to work better with their finances

Debt review overview and fees

Debt Counselling is a formal process, which is governed by the National Credit Act. Your monthly debt repayment amount is specific to your situation and how much you owe on your debt in total. Debt Counsellors are permitted by the NCR to charge certain fees which include:

  • A once off restructuring fee of 100% of your debt rehabilitation amount up to a maximum as per the NCR’s guidelines
  • A once off Application fee of R57 incl. VAT.
  • A Sundry Fee equivalent to your monthly debt rehabilitation amount for your legal application to the NCT or Magistrate Court.
  • A monthly Aftercare Fee of 5% (ex VAT) of your monthly debt rehabilitation amount for every month that you are under debt counselling.
  • A monthly Transactional Payment Distribution Fee (PDA) as per the NCR.

The process

  1. Month 1 Debit Order
    1. Restructure fee
    2. Application fee
  2. Month 2 Debit Order / EFT / Stop Order
    1. Rehab payment (which covers)
      1. Sundry fees
      2. Aftercare fee
      3. PDA fee
      4. Creditors
  3. Month 3 and onwards Debit Order / EFT / Stop Order
    1. Rehab payments
      1. Creditors
      2. Aftercare fee
      3. PDA fee


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