CREDIT CRUNCH is ON FOR BORROWERS

There were 60920 civil judgments for debt amounting to R560,7million in February, Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) announced yesterday.

There were 60920 civil judgments for debt amounting to R560,7million in February, Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) announced yesterday.

Up 16,8 percent on the value of civil judgments in February last year, this was the first yearly increase since October 2007, StatsSA found in its survey of civil cases for debt.

The largest contributors to the R560,7m were civil judgments relating to money lent, at R153,3m or 27,3 percent, and promissory notes and other acknowledgements of debt - including credit cards - at R128,8m or 23 percent, it said.

StatsSA said that despite this increase, the total number of civil summonses issued for debt for the three months ended February 2008 decreased by 11,3 percent compared with the three months ended February 2007. The major contributors to this decrease were civil summonses issued in respect of money lent, which were down 9,1 percentage points; promissory notes and other acknowledgements of debt, down 1,6 percentage points; and other debts, down 1,2 percentage points.

The number of civil judgments recorded for debt had also decreased by 10,3 percent, for the three months ended February 2007. This was mainly because of a decrease in civil judgments in respect of money lent, by 7,9 percentage points; goods sold on open account, by 2,5 percentage points; and promissory notes and other acknowledgements of debt, by 1,3 percentage points.

StatsSA found that the value of civil judgments for debt had also decreased by 2,4 percent for the three months ended February 2007. The biggest factors behind this move were civil judgments pertaining to other debts going down 3,7 percentage points; money lent, by 2,6 percentage points; and goods sold on open account by 1,2 percentage points.

StatsSA noted that civil judgments regarding promissory notes and other acknowledgements of debt had increased by 2,3 percent. It bases its monthly civil debt survey on information from selected magistrates' offices.

Cabinet is concerned about "collusive behaviour" in the food industry, government communications head Themba Maseko said yesterday.

Briefing the media following Wednesday's cabinet meeting, he said government was developing a strategy to address this challenge.

"Collusive behaviour, particularly in the food industry, is a matter of concern to many South Africans."

Government was confident that the competition authorities would continue to be vigilant and take strong action to curb negative practices that had contributed to higher food prices. - Sapa

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