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Debt Collectors Act, 1998 (Act No. 114 of 1998)

20. Trust accounts


1) Every debt collector who practices for his or her or its own account, shall open and maintain a separate trust account at a bank as defined in the Banks Act, 1990 (Act No. 94 of 1990), and shall deposit therein as soon as is possible after receipt thereof the money received or held by him or her on behalf of any person.


2) The money deposited in terms of subsection (1) shall be paid within a reasonable or agreed time to the person on whose behalf the money is received or held: Provided that a settlement account, containing a complete exposition of all credits and debits reflected in the said account shall be delivered to that person at least once a month.


3) All interest, if any, on money deposited in terms of subsection (1) shall be paid, as at the prescribed time and in the prescribed manner, to the Council.


3A) The Council may, in accordance with a tariff and procedure determined by the Council, reimburse the debt collector concerned for any bank charges or any portion thereof incurred by the debt collector in connection with the keeping of his or her trust account.


4) A debt collector shall keep proper accounting records in respect of all money received, held or paid by him or her on behalf of or to any other person.


5) The Council may itself or through its nominee at its own cost examine the accounting records of a debt collector in order to satisfy itself that subsections (1), (2), (3) and (4) are complied with and, if during such an examination it is found that the debt collector has not complied with those provisions, the-Council may update the accounting records of such debt collector and may recover the costs of the examination and, where applicable, such updating from that debt collector.


6) A debt collector must, in the prescribed manner and period–
a) cause his or her accounting records to be audited annually by a public accountant or auditor contemplated in the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Act, 1991 (Act No. 80 of 1991); and
b) report to the Council thereon.


7) No amount standing to the credit of a trust account contemplated in subsection (1) shall form part of the assets of a debt collector or may be attached on behalf of any creditor of such debt collector.


8) If any debt collector–
a) dies;
b) becomes insolvent;
c) in the case of a company or close corporation, is liquidated or placed under judicial management, whether provisionally or finally;
d) has his or her registration withdrawn, or is on reasonable grounds likely to have his or her registration withdrawn;
e) is declared by a competent court to be incapable of managing his or her own affairs; or
f) abandons his or her practice or ceases to practise, the Council-
i) must, take control over, administer and finalise that trust account; or
ii) may, in the circumstances the Council deems fit, make an application to the Master of the High Court having jurisdiction to appoint a curator bonis with the rights, duties and powers as prescribed to control, administer and finalise that account.


9) The Master of the High Court–
a) may, before an appointment of a curator bonis is made as provided for in subsection (8), require from the person who is to be appointed as curator bonis, security to the satisfaction of the Master in an amount determined by the Master for the proper performance of his or her functions;
b) shall have the powers and duties as prescribed; and
c) is entitled to the fees as provided for in Schedule 2 of the regulations made in terms of section 103 of the Administration of Estates Act, 1965 (Act No. 66 of 1965).