Thanks for your question.
Debt has only prescribed if there has been no attempt by the credit provider to collect it or if no summons has been issued for the debt during the last 3 years. Also, if there has been no acknowledgment of debt during the last 3 years. If you have made any form of payment in the last 3 years it constitutes an acknowledgment of debt.
Prescription of debt is a defence; thus, when the credit provider attempts to collect you can claim prescription as a defence. If the debt does not affect your credit record at this stage you can simply ignore it and if anything happens in the future claim prescription as defence. If it is causing issues for you, I would advise that you get an attorney to write a letter on your behalf to the respective credit providers notifying them of the problems that are being caused by the debt and then claiming that it has prescribed. If the debt has indeed prescribed already, the new Credit Amendment Act prohibits the prescription to be interrupted after 3 years. If it has not prescribed yet, then you need to be careful not to acknowledge it.
If in light of the above you have no doubt that your debt has prescribed I would suggest that you write to the respective credit bureaus and inform them that the said debt has prescribed and that they need to remove it from their database.
Hope this information was helpful.