A consideration of the Registrar’s powers in matters relating to the National Credit Act: An analysis of Gcasamba v Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (Pty) Ltd and Ngandela v Absa Bank Ltd
Author: Ciresh Singh
Affiliations: Associate Professor, University of South Africa
Source: South African Law Journal, Volume 141 Issue 1, p. 15-23
Section 23 of the Superior Courts Act 10 of 2013, read with rule 31(5) of the Uniform Rules of Court, empowers the Registrar of the High Court, save in exceptional circumstances involving residential property, to grant default judgments. The purpose of this rule is to prevent the overburdening of the court roll and judicial workload by allowing Registrars the discretion to grant default judgments in uncomplicated, undefended matters. In recent judgments in Gcashamba v Mercedes-Benz Financial Services SA (Pty) Ltd & another 2023 (1) SA 141 (FB) and Ngandela v Absa Bank Ltd & another  ZAECELLC 6, the courts both found that a Registrar is not empowered to grant default judgments in matters relating to the National Credit Act 34 of 2005. The question thus arises whether the National Credit Act has changed and effectively reduced the Registrar’s powers. The implications of these judgments are far-reaching. Not only do they appear to have lessened the powers of the Registrar, but they also have the effect of increasing the administrative workload of judges and potentially delaying the enforcement process of credit agreements subject to the National Credit Act.