Thank you for your question.
If the last status of an account is “in arrears” and you settle it on that status, your credit score will take longer to improve. If you pay the arrears and make regular payments for 3 months an all accounts are up to date it will reflect better on your credit score.
We would suggest that you pull your credit report from TransUnion; https://mytransunion.co.za/ and review your score. You will be able to see exactly what the status of your credit profile is. Remember that every time you apply for credit, it is also recorded on your credit profile, whether or not it has been granted. Multiple credit applications also negatively affect your credit score.
Also keep in mind that your payment history can reflect payments for the last 24 months. In general, if you missed payments and brought the accounts up to date again, your score should start to improve in about 3 months. If the defaults were more than 12 months back, it should not affect you too much.
Have a great day.