A Simplified Guide to Prescription

Introduction Prescribe Debt:

Understanding debt laws can be challenging, especially terms like “prescription.” In South Africa, two crucial laws shape debt management.

Understanding the National Credit Act:

Banks can’t pursue a prescribed debt; the National Credit Act, Section 126B, emphasizes adherence to Prescription Act rules.

Section 126B of the National Credit Act states that it’s an offense to sell or attempt to collect a debt that has expired under the Prescription Act. This section highlights the legal consequences of dealing with debts that should no longer be pursued.

The Act also covers Regulation 19(5) of the National Credit Regulations, which prohibits the submission of information about a prescribed debt to a credit bureau. Credit bureaus must promptly eliminate any outdated debt information from their records.

The Prescription Act: Debt Timelines:

Section 11 outlines debt timelines, vital for determining legal standing – from 30 years for mortgage bonds to three years for others.

What Counts as Prescribe Debt?

Prescribed debt means no admission, payments, or legal action in the last three years.

Time Limits: When Can Debts Be Pursued?

In South Africa, a three-year limit exists; debts are pursued if courts act within that time.

Debt Collection in South Africa:

Different debts have varied expiration – retail debts prescribe after three years; obligations like home loans can last 30 years.

Consumer Rights and Actions:

Section 72(1)(d) allows checking and challenging credit info, with the right to compensation for credit bureau mistakes.


Prescription is complex, crucial to navigating South Africa’s debt laws. This blog isn’t legal advice.

Debt Prescription Periods Specified Section 11 The Prescription Act of 1969

The following table presents the information from Section 11 of the Prescription Act, outlining the various prescription periods for different types of debts.

Looking to dispute a prescribed debt?

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