cat Debt Review Knowledge Centre

DebtSafe’s registered Debt Counsellors have the training and experience to administrate the Debt Review process effectively, making sure you reach your end goal – fixing your debt and receiving the opportunity to build an improved financial future.

Even though DebtSafe guides you through each step it is highly beneficial to understand the intricacies of the process. It will empower you to make an informed decision about joining the process, or if you are already advancing through the steps, make the most of this debt solution.

Explore the Debt Review Knowledge Centre topics below to learn about, and comprehend, the inner workings of the Debt Review process and how it will benefit you.

A: It is the employer’s choice on what the exact requirements are for their employees, so we will not be able to say definitively.

However, historically we have seen that in general being under Debt Review is not an issue when looking for employment. The only industry that might have some question is if you are looking to be employed in the financial sector.

Theoretically, there shouldn’t be discrimination towards someone in Debt Review when it comes to employment opportunities.

A: If you completed your previous Debt Review successfully then it should be possible. 

But it is very unlikely that your second Debt Review will be granted if you failed to pay your first Debt Review instalments. The main reason for this is that you will still need to pay your first Debt Counsellor’s outstanding fees. Plus, your creditor will most likely not agree to any new repayment plan since the last repayment plan was not followed. 

A: Alternatively known as the Cancellation Form.

Whether a Debt Review is cancelled voluntarily or involuntarily the National Credit Act (NCA) requires that a Debt Review Cancellation Form is completed.

There are serious considerations to make before cancelling your Debt Review. These include the following:

  • A cancellation fee of 75% of the debt restructuring fee is payable if you have not yet paid your first instalment and your repayment plan has been calculated.
  • The original credit agreement is re-established, and your credit providers are free to proceed to enforce their rights. This could lead to immediate legal action against you.
  • You will not receive your Clearance Certificate that clears your credit record.
  • It will be much harder to apply for Debt Review in the future.

A: Creditors have the right to terminate your Debt Review when:

  • Payments are not received according to the payment plan.
  • The amount being negotiated is not accepted.
  • When a counteroffer is not accommodated.

In the case of a termination, DebtSafe will apply for reinstatement.

The biggest reason we have seen for a creditor to terminate a client’s Debt Review is that the client stops making their monthly Debt Review payments. Missing a Debt Review payment gives the creditor the legal standing to terminate the client’s Debt Review and in the worst case, begin with legal action against the client.

A: Firstly, Debt Counsellors, as stipulated in the National Credit Act (NCA), are not allowed to manage their clients’ money. Rather, the NCA requires that a Payment Distribution Company (PDA) handles the collection and distribution of funds of Debt Review clients.

The three main reasons why the statements differ are:

  • Payments are processed at different periods. The PDA will distribute the funds to the creditors, and a couple of days after that the creditor applies the payment to the account.
  • The PDA statements include the Debt Review fees (link to that FAQ), whereas the creditor statements do not.
  • Creditor statements include the service fee whereas the PDA statements do not include creditor service fees.

Therefore, PDA statements should be seen as estimates. But, if a client is concerned about the difference in balance they should contact their Debt Counsellor to check if there are any discrepancies or issues that need to be addressed.

If you are a DebtSafe client with a question regarding your PDA statement you can use our updated MyDebtSafe Client Portal. MyDebtSafe will now allow for quicker responses and more efficient resolving of client issues. Please find the instructions to request a call back, or to escalate an issue on MyDebtSafe below:

Step 1: Navigate to
Step 2: Login with your username and password.
Step 3: Navigate to “My Relationship Manager” in the top menu bar.
Step 4: On the left select “Create” to create a query.
Step 5: Fill in the fields, click “Send”.

A: When in Debt Review all your current credit agreements are restructured into your monthly Debt Review repayments.  Furthermore, you are not allowed to acquire any new or additional credit during your Debt Review program.

With that said you will not be allowed to trade in your current vehicle below Debt Review for a new vehicle if it is linked to a new credit agreement.

You can, however, voluntary surrender  your vehicle while in Debt Review.

A: Debt Review is a great option for South Africans in serious financial trouble, still, they will need to consider the pros and cons of the program.

The Pros:

  • Consolidate your debt without having to add an additional loan to your debt mass.
  • Monthly instalments could be reduced by up to 60%.
  • Financial relief with the above mentioned reduced instalments.
  • Your home and car stay safe – No repossession, no legal action from your creditors.
  • You will be able to afford your family’s crucial living expenses.
  • Once the program is successfully completed you will enjoy complete financial rehabilitation with a clear credit record.

The Cons:

  • You will not be allowed to get credit while in the program.
  • Your Debt Review will be listed on your credit record until the completion of the program or when all your debt listed under Debt Review are paid up in full.
  • The payment period of your debt will be extended in order to lower your monthly instalments.

A: If your cell phone contract is included in your Debt Review budget you should be able to upgrade.

Make sure the monthly amount is not more than what is provided for in your budget. If the upgrade negatively affects your cash flow, it could have repercussions for your Debt Review. Always make sure that you are able to honour your Debt Review payments.

A: When entering Debt Review, and any credit agreement, it is important to make sure you have sufficient debt cover. This is called Credit Linked or Credit Life Insurance.

Depending on what Credit Linked/Life Insurance you have there should be some form of protection for your debt in the event of retrenchment.

With DebtSafe’s CreditGuard Plan your monthly debt repayments will be covered for a period of 12 months when you get retrenched. Over and above the retrenchment cover the CreditGuard plan also offers Temporary and Permanent Disability cover; cover in the case of death, ID theft and cover when on maternity leave.

Please speak to one of the DebtSafe Debt Counsellors about the benefits of the DebtSafe CreditGuard as well as the process on how to log a claim.

A: It would depend on the type of business. We can only assist you when your business is a sole proprietorship. We won’t be able to assist if your business is a Private Company (PTY) or Closed Corporation (CC) or a Business Trust.

A: As a rule, no. It will be seen as reckless since being in Debt Review means that you are not able to pay your current debt. Therefore, the National Credit Act (NCA) prohibits you from acquiring any further credit while you are in Debt Review. Which makes sense since credit is what caused most of our clients’ debt.

The reason for this is that whilst under Debt Review your budget is calculated and precisely allocated to your current debt obligations and other living expenses.

But once you have successfully completed the DebtSafe program you will be able to apply for credit again.

The exception to the rule is a consolidation loan. Consolidation loans have strict application requirements. A reputable credit provider will do a full assessment in order to determine if you qualify for a consolidation loan while under Debt Review.

A: For the Debt Review (note – a legal) process to be successful, you must adhere to your Debt Review restructured or repayment plan (‘rehab payment’) at all times so that your Debt Review agreement doesn’t get jeopardised.

Debt Review’s primary benefit is the negotiation process offered (with your various creditors on your behalf) to reduce your monthly instalments and interest rates. 

You may ask: ‘What’s the worst thing then that can happen if I don’t pay my monthly Debt Review repayment amount?’

If you fail to make payment in no uncertain terms, you are taking a step back and further away from reaching financial freedom again. Your creditors will have sufficient legal grounds to terminate your Debt Review and commence legal action against you. REMEMBER: The Debt Review process is NOT a payment holiday but instead offers you a lifeline to afford your daily living expenses while also taking care of your debt responsibilities and avoiding repossession of your assets.

**Very important: if your payments are in arrears, no further work will be done on your Debt Review application until payments are 100% up to date.

Rather pay something than nothing. And,  when you find yourself in circumstances where you see you might have trouble paying your upcoming instalment amount, you have to contact one of DebtSafe’s registered Debt Counsellors immediately to re-negotiate and make arrangements with your creditors.

Also, take a look at the policies that you have available. You may not even be aware that you have credit-linked or life insurance that will help pay your debt after unforeseen events, for example, a salary deduction or loss of income, have taken place.

Did you know?

DebtSafe offers extra benefits for their Debt Review clients. In partnership with CreditGuard Credit Life Insurance, DebtSafe can ensure that your debt gets paid when you can’t. Learn more here

Lastly, before entering into the Debt Review/Debt Counselling/No-loan Debt Consolidation process, you have to be sure that you understand what the process entails and how it works. Always make an informed decision to give yourself and your household or family members a chance at a sound financial future.

EXTRA INFO about the Debt Review process:

**Alternatively, request a free call-back from one of DebtSafe’s professional representatives to explain all you need to know about Debt Review and the payment procedures involved.

A: No. Debt Collection is when an attorney, a person who is an agent of an attorney or a registered debt collector collects, on behalf of the credit provider, an outstanding amount plus lawful interest, admin costs and collection fees, which by law is capped to certain amounts.

A: If you received a Summons before entering Debt Review we will not be able to include that account in your Debt Review.

However, we can try to convince that creditor to take part in the Debt Review, but ultimately it will stay the creditor’s decision whether or not they want to participate.

A: No, Debt Review is not the same as Sequestration.

What is Sequestration?

Sequestration entails that you, a natural person (as stated by the Insolvency Act), are bankrupt.

You get two types of Sequestration:

  • One – Compulsory Sequestration – when you can’t pay your debts, leading to your creditors applying for your estate to get sequestrated.
  • And two – Voluntary Sequestration – when you willingly apply to the High Court for sequestration/to be declared insolvent.

**For more information and help with the above process, please contact an authorised insolvency lawyer to assist you.

What the process entails:


Debt Review

Free assessment done by a registered Debt Counsellor to confirm over-indebtedness.


Application to the High Court for Sequestration/to be declared insolvent.

What the process entails:


Debt Review

Consolidated repayment plan to pay off your debts & a budget to enable you to service your living costs in the process.


The court will appoint a trustee to manage your money and distribute the benefits from the sale of (mostly all of your) assets in your estate.

What the process entails:


Debt Review

Protection of your assets (such as a vehicle or house) against your creditors.


With Sequestration your assets are sold to cover your debt. In order to meet the criteria for Sequestration, you will need to cover 100% of your secured debt (typically a home loan or an instalment sale agreement) and 20% of your unsecured debt (typically personal loans, credit cards and overdrafts) as well as the costs of the Sequestration.

What the process entails:


Debt Review

Clearance Certificate – the proof that you receive indicating that you have paid off all of your debts.
As soon as all paid-up letters have been received, you and the credit bureaus will receive your Clearance Certificate Your Debt Review flag, plus any default listings, need to be removed from your record (according to the National Credit Act) by the credit bureaus.
However, your payment history will still reflect on your credit profile for a period of two years as per the conditions of the National Credit Act (NCA).


You may bring an application to be rehabilitated, usually within 4 years after your date of Sequestration. This entails another court application; however, it is not a complicated one. If no creditors prove claims, you can rehabilitate within 1 year. Note – this is not the norm.
If you do not bring the application, you will automatically rehabilitate after 10 years.
You cannot get credit before your rehabilitation.

What the process entails:


Debt Review

Debt Review is a rehabilitation and proven program that is personally structured according to your situation and according to the amount of debt that you owe (differs time-wise from person-to-person).
DebtSafe can provide you with a free debt assessment which will provide you with an estimate on how long your specific Debt Review program can/will take. (CTA)

DebtSafe can provide you with a free debt assessment which will provide you with an estimate on how long your specific Debt Review program can/will take.


Sequestration is completed within a 1 – 10 year period, depending on several factors.
The consequence of Sequestration can be far-reaching, depending on your specific situation and circumstances involving your insolvency.

The difference between Debt Review & Sequestration – shortened illustration:


Debt relief method / debt management solution

Debt Review



Regulated process

Debt Review

Regulated by the National Credit Regulator (NCR) – the governing body of the credit industry under the National Credit Act (NCA)


The process is regulated by the Insolvency Act


Losing your assets during the process

Debt Review



You get the opportunity to pay off all of your creditors

Debt Review



Hefty legal fees

Debt Review



Process duration

Debt Review

Depends on your personal circumstances


1 – 10 years depending on your personal circumstances


After the process, your salary is yours

Debt Review



You can take on new debt after the program

Debt Review



Average % of debt paid off

Debt Review

100% plus interest.


100% of secured debt, 20% of unsecured debt.

A: No. Administration only pays your creditors every third month, the rest of the payments go towards admin fees and commissions. Plus, Administration is only for a debt of R 50 000 or less.

Lastly, Administration exclusively deals with unsecured debt. So, your secured debt, like a home loan or car loan is not included.

A: Our program is created by South Africa’s National Credit Act. Therefore, the only way we can assist non-citizens with their debt is:

  • if you have a passport number,
  • can prove that you are permanently working in South Africa, and
  • your debt is with South African creditors.

A: Unfortunately, we do not.

To be able to qualify for Debt Review/Debt Consolidation/Debt Counselling you must be employed or receive regular and consistent income. No creditor will accept a non-payment as a viable option during our negotiations with them.

If you are unemployed you can, however, negotiate with your creditors directly to see if they can offer you some sort of breathing space for a few months. Pay them as far as you can and do not stop looking for employment. If too much time passes and you still do not have employment, they will Summons you. You will then be able to explain to the court that you are unemployed, and you can ask the court to give you 3-6 months to find a job. Do not stay away and ignore the Summons. Show up at the court and state your case.

A: If you are unhappy with the service your Debt Counsellor is providing, or not providing, you have the option to change and transfer to a Debt Counsellor of your choice.

A: The process of cancelling/withdrawing from Debt Review is a complex one and we will always suggest that you talk to your Debt Counsellor before making the decision. Here is what you need to know about exiting Debt Review before completing the program:

Your Debt Review will stay listed on your credit record until a Clearance Certificate is issued. You can only receive a Clearance Certificate when:

    1. All debts are paid in full, or.
    2. When all short-term credit agreements, including car finance, have been paid up and you are only left with a home loan which is not in arrears in terms of the Debt Counselling Re-Arrangement Order – plus, you must be able to pay your original home loan instalment, or
      You can withdraw from Debt Review prior to a Form 17.2 (prior to being declared over-indebted according to the National Credit Act).

But once the Form 17.2 is issued you will need to approach a Court and get them to rescind your over-indebtedness so that you can be declared as NOT over-indebted. Only when your Debt Counsellor receives this Court Order stating that you are no longer over-indebted will they be allowed to remove the Debt Review listing from your name.

A: The Debt Review program is structured according to your marriage contract.

Married in community of property (married COP)

The application to the program will be a joint one and all the debt will be thrown into one pool since the law sees you as one estate.

Your income will also be joined in the calculations and the payment of all your debt will be joint into one single instalment. Both will be placed under Debt Review in a joint application.

Married out of community of property (married ANC)

When you are married out of community of property both parties do not have to go under Debt Review.

If, however, there are debts which both signed for and are therefore both responsible for, then both will have to apply for Debt Review. No account may be excluded from the program.

Marrying someone in Debt Review

When marrying someone already in Debt Review it would depend on your marriage contract.

If you are married in community of property (married COP) you will then also need to apply for Debt Review.

If you are married out of community of property (married ANC) then you will not be obligated to apply for Debt Review.

Divorce and Debt Review

If you already have your Debt Review Court Order that Court Order will have to be rescinded if you were married in community of property (COP) or in the case of a joint Debt Review application. Then you will need to re-apply for a new Debt Review program with a new debt profile and repayment plan separate from your ex-spouse or partner.

If your Debt Review Court Order has not been granted yet you will also need to re-apply if you were married in community of property (COP) or in the event of a joint application. Your new application will be separate from your ex-spouse or partner and based on your personal debt profile.

Contact us for a free, no-obligation, quote.