The implications of Truworths Limited v Minister of Trade and Industry 2018 (3) SA 558 (WCC) for access to credit by historically disadvantaged and low-income consumers, pg. 1 - 17
The problem of safe and affordable credit for low-income consumers has remained a conundrum for policy makers. More pointedly, sustainable participation of historically disadvantaged and low-income consumers in the mainstream credit market has proved to be problematic in South Africa. Despite the introduction of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (“NCA”) numerous South Africans are still trapped in debt. To alleviate this problem the NCA was amended by the National Credit Amendment Act 19 of 2014 (“NCAA”) to promote responsible lending and borrowing. Nonetheless, certain regulations that were promulgated under the NCAA were challenged in Truworths v Minister of Trade and Industry 2018 (3) 558 (WCC) (“Truworths”) on the basis that they discriminated against the informally employed and financially excluded since they require consumers to provide bank statements, pay slips or financial statements as proof of income. This article presents a reflective appraisal of Truworths in the light of its support for access to credit by those on the peripheries of South Africa’s credit market. Although the authors applaud the decision in Truworths as having the potential to open up the credit market to the financially excluded, they also raise concerns about whether striking down regulations that encourage consumers to open bank accounts is the optimal approach to promoting financial inclusion in South Africa.