Makhosi Langa*‚ 27‚ is a packer at a clothing store in Durban. She earns R6‚500 a month but owes R80‚000.
“I was lured into pyramid schemes that seemed to profit everyone but me. Losing R50‚000 worth of savings through online money schemes and even forex trading. Believing I would get 100% back and profit‚ I invested all my money and now I have nothing. Banks and other credit providers indebted me further‚ offering me credit even when I could not afford it.”
She has two credit cards both offering credit of R15‚000‚ a clothing account and lots of other debt.
“A salary is the bribe they give you to forget your dreams and bury yourself in debt. That is how I see it. Getting into the trap is easier than making it out‚” she says.
Langa says she uses one of her credit cards to pay her clothing account and a loan repayment of R670 each month. She has not been paying off her personal loan of R66‚000.
Gwen Moloi‚ education and communications manager at the NCR‚ says young people need to be more aware of the debt counselling services available.
“Undeniably people experience circumstances that see them plunged into debt and are no longer able to cope. That is when they should seek financial advice to get relief‚” says Moloi.
Consumers battling with debt repayments should not avoid their creditors‚ says Nomsa Motshegare‚ NCR chief executive. Instead‚ she says‚ they should renegotiate payment arrangements or seek help from registered debt counsellors.
The NCR provides contacts for debt counsellors.
* Not their real names
- This article was first published in GroundUp.