Manie Foreword

Although still in its early stages, 2015 is already showing signs of being another momentous year for the credit industry. I attended the Stellenbosch University legal aid centre’s court case which looked at the practices around Emolument Attachment Orders (EOAs) during the week of 16 February, which promises to have far reaching effects on our industry where EOAs are concerned.

A lot happened in the last few weeks of February as during the same week the Ombudsmen for financial services met to review the Financial Sector Regulations Bill. Comments will be forwarded to Treasury on 2 March 2015 and a meeting will be held with Treasury on 10 March to discuss the various clauses that possible could affect the way that Ombuds operate in this country.

25 February was yet another day which was significant for our industry and our office particularly. We had the Budget speech which will surely affect the lives of those consumers who are under financial pressure with the Minister announcing an increase in fuel levy and personal tax. These increases will certainly affect all South African’s as consumers will now need to spend more money on daily transport not only to get themselves to work, but to also ensure that their children get to school every day.

We also celebrated our 10 year anniversary on 25 February, launched our Annual Report (check out the Expert Opinion section to view a copy) and officially welcomed Nicky Lala-Mohan as the Credit Ombud. Nicky officially joined the office on 1 February 2015 and we used the month of February as a handover/transitional phase.
25 February also marked my official exit from the office of the Credit Ombud. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has had a hand in assisting to build this office to what it is today. We started off as a 2 man office to having a staff contingent of 22 in 2015. There are too many people to single out and thank and I would rather not risk forgetting to mention anyone!

Closer to home, I would like to thank the Credit Ombud Council members who have assisted in steering this office to great heights. Every single one of the Credit Ombud staff have contributed in their own way to making this office one of the best ombud’s offices in South Africa. Thank you to all of you for your hard work and efforts and I wish you all of the best as you continue on this wonderful journey of assisting distressed consumers, making a difference in the lives of ordinary South Africans.

In Setswana they say di sa kopaneng ke di thaba (only mountains never cross paths). Somewhere our paths shall cross, until then farewell!

Best wishes,
Manie van Schalkwyk