Access to Information Act
MANUAL IN TERMS OF SECTION 14 OF THE PROMOTION OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION, 2000 (ACT 2 OF 2000)
In terms of Section 14(1) of the Promotion of Access to Information, 2000 (Act 2 of 2000), the information officer of a public body must compile in at least three official languages a manual containing certain specified information.
The Council for Debt Collectors derives its powers from the Debt Collectors Act, 1998 (Act 114 of 1998). The Council for Debt Collectors is a public body as contemplated in paragraph (b)(ii) of the definition of ‘public body’; namely an institution exercising a public power of performing a public function in terms of any legislation. The Council for Debt Collectors consequently manages the access to its own records.
The Executive Director of the Council is the information officer of the Council.
The offices of the Council for Debt Collectors are situated in the –
The postal address is as follows:
Council for Debt Collectors
Telephone: (012) 804 9808
Office hours: 07h30 – 16h00
A guide on how to use the promotion of access to information Act, 2000
In terms of section 10 of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 the Human Rights Commission must compile in each official language a guide containing such information, in an easily comprehensible form and manner, as may reasonably be required by a person who wishes to exercise any right contemplated in this Act.
The particulars of the Head Office of the Human Rights Commission are as follows:
Structure and functions of the Council for Debt Collectors
Establishment of the Council for Debt Collectors
The Council for Debt Collectors was established by the Debt Collectors Act, 1998 (Act 114 of 1998). The Act and Regulations promulgated in terms of section 23 of the Act were put into operation with effect from 7 February 2003. From 11 August 2003 no person could act as a debt collector unless registered with the Council.
Objects of the Council for Debt Collectors
The Council is a juristic person. In terms of section 2 of the Act the objectives of the Council are to exercise control over the occupation of debt collectors. This is accomplished by –
Keeping of the registers prescribed by section 12 of the Act;
Collection of registration fees and annual subscription fees;
The investigation of allegations of improper conduct against a debt collector;
Taking disciplinary steps in cases where it is justified and, on conviction impose one or more of the sentences prescribed in section 15 of the Act. The hearings are open to the public.
In short, the Council for Debt Collectors is a statutory body established to regulate the occupation of debt collector by providing for the registration of debt collectors; to exercise control over the occupation of debt collector; and to legalize and regulate the recovery of fees or remuneration by registered debt collectors.
Constitution of Council for Debt Collectors
The Council for Debt Collectors consists of not more than 10 members appointed by the Minister of Justice for a period not exceeding three years.
In terms of section 3(2) of the Act the Council is constituted as follows:
at least two but not more than four, debt collectors, two of whom shall be appointed after consultation with organizations representing debt collectors, who are natural persons and who have exercised the occupation of debt collector for at least three years;
Section 5(1) of the Act provides for the appointment by the Council of not less than three but not more than five of its members as an Executive Committee to perform all the powers and functions of the Council between meetings of the Council; provided that the majority of the members must be members of the Council other than those appointed in their capacity as debt collectors. The Executive Committee is not competent to set aside or vary a decision of the Council or to withdraw a certificate of registration.
Any act performed or decision taken by the Executive Committee is valid in so far as it is not varied or set aside by the Council.
The Council may in terms of regulation 7 of the Regulations published in Government Gazette, No. 24351 of 7 February 2003:
Establish a committee or committees, consisting of at least three members of the Council, one of whom must be suitably qualified in law, and designate one of those members as chairperson of the committee; or
The Council appoints such personnel as it may deem necessary for the efficient performance of its functions and management of its administration.
The Council generates its own income through the registration and fees of prospective debt collectors, and the annual subscription fees payable by registered debt collectors.
The register of active debt collectors must –
be published on the website of the Council,
be updated every month by the Council; and
be submitted to Parliament within 14 days after the end of each financial year.
The register of inactive debt collectors must be updated every month by the Council.
Both registers must be available for inspection by the public at the prescribed places and times.
The Council must, when it submits the register to Parliament of active debt collectors publish a notice in the Gazette and in a national newspaper, setting out the prescribed places and particulars where the register is available for inspection by the public.
Records of the Council for Debt Collectors
All records of the Council are kept at the offices of the Council.
The Council keeps the following records:
Records that are automatically available to either employees only or the general public
The following records are available to all employees and need not be requested in terms of section 18 of Act 2 of 2000:
The following records are available to the general public and all employees and need not to be requested in accordance with the procedure prescribed by Section 18 of the Access to Information Act, 2000:
All other records must be requested in accordance with the procedure prescribed by section 18 of the Access to Information Act, 2000.
Services available to members of the public
In terms of Regulation 7(2) of the Regulations a member of the public, or a debt collector, can lodge a complaint at the Council against a registered debt collector.
The complaint must be in the form of an affidavit containing the following information –
The debt collector concerned is informed of the allegations. The debt collector has 5 days to react to the complaints. A committee of the Council will then consider the allegation and its reaction, and deal with it in the manner it deems fit, which can include charging the debt collector with improper conduct.
If found guilty a debt collector can in terms of Section 15(3) of the Act be given the following sentence or punishment:
The Council makes the register of the registered debt collectors available to members of the public at the Council’s offices. The public or debt collectors can also do telephonic enquiries relating to the status of a specific debt collector.
The Council, however, does not furnish legal advice or assist members of the public with legal problems relating to the payment of debts.
Meetings and minutes of meetings
In terms of section 4(1) of the Act the Council must meet for the first time at the time and place determined by the chairperson and thereafter at least three times every financial year at the time and place determined by the Chairperson or, in his or her absence, the Vice-Chairperson.
The quorum for a meeting of the Council is a majority of its members.
Proper minutes of Council meetings as well as meetings of the Executive Committee is kept at the offices of the Council.
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