NCR help KZN government host workshop on debt counselling

The KwaZulu-Natal government, in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Financial Literacy Association (KZNFLA), the National Credit Regulator and the Justice College, have joined forces to assist heavily indebted government employees.

A two-day workshop, on Debt Counselling and Emolument Attachment Orders (commonly known as Garnishee orders), for Employee Wellness Practitioners and Human Resource employees started yesterday. The aim of the workshop has been to capacitate them with the knowledge to assist employees who are faced with indebtedness.

The Employee Health and Wellness Practitioners render support and advice to employees who may be experiencing problems due to indebtedness. The workshop is targeting employees from the 15 provincial departments  and is a response to the high number of indebted government employees, as well as high incidents of fraudulent garnishees.

The Employee Health and Wellness Practitioners and Human Resources employees are receiving training about the Debt Counselling Process and information about Garnishees. This will help them to assist and support indebted colleagues better, as well as protecting them from immoral and unregistered debt collecting attorneys.

Statistically speaking

By April 2011, one out of every seven public servants in KwaZulu-Natal’s provincial departments had a garnishee order against their salary

In September 2012 financial advisory firm, Summit Financial Services estimated that 10-15% of the total workforce of South Africa had some type of garnishee order in place. The average number of garnishee orders per employee is about two, although in some cases is as high as 12.

Motivations for the workshop

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize believes that most debt can be prevented by proper financial planning and advice. “It is essential that government helps our civil servants to get out of their debt trap.

KZNFLA champion, Ina Cronjé, MEC for Finance, said “we want to get our employees out of the debt spiral. Those who are not in debt yet must be helped to stay out of debt and to avoid garnishee orders at all cost, and to assist those who are already in debts with the best way of dealing with garnishee orders”.

“Everyone in every income bracket is at risk of falling into a debt trap. However, it has to be addressed. People, who are heavily indebted, are not fully work fit and motivated to be productive. It can affect their health, resulting in stress, a negative state of mind and high absenteeism. If people are in debt, they get easily tempted to do be involved in corrupt practices and this makes our efforts to fight fraud and corruption difficult. Our mission through financial literacy is to ensure that people know how to use money wisely and that they don’t live a life of misery as a result of indebtedness” said MEC Cronjé

Mr Melulisi Maluleke, from the National Credit Regulator, said that “we are here to assist government employees to get out of debts, tackling issues of over indebtedness with the government employees, also to assist employees to get out of debt without having to get deeper into debt“.