A Real Debt Review Process: Chris’s Story

One of our clients recently wrote a testimonial about his experience with debt review. Many people have doubts or concerns about debt review. This is a real-life success story of overcoming challenges and embracing positive change. We hope it will adress many of the concerns you may have about debt review. We are proud to publish Chris Madondo’s story!

image of a key with the word success printed on a piece of paper next to it

I wanted to write my story for you to publish because there are many people out there who are uncertain about debt review, and if it in fact is effective. I would like to encourage the doubters out there to consider coming to you for help with their debt.  

Chris Madondo.

This is my story – As told by Chris Madondo

At the outset, I want to say that I never intentionally took up “too much credit”.  I was a responsible provider, always able to manage my creditor monthly payments and still support my two sons who were teenagers at the time.  I am a single parent.

One thing I always dreamed of was to own my own home. Unfortunately the banks would not give me a home loan with a suitable interest rate over the property I wanted to purchase and I was forced to apply for a Personal Loan of R100 000 at an interest rate of 30.50%.  I had three small clothing accounts, an overdraft and two credit cards.  My total debt was just over R160 000.

Then I hit a challenge.

I needed a vehicle so that I could perform my duties as a Regional Manager in KZN, travelling vast distances.  When I applied for vehicle finance at a bank, they declined my application due to my other commitments, stating “unaffordable”. 

But I needed a car!

So I applied at a company that leases vehicles to people like me.  Little did I know that this would be the beginning of my financial dilemma.  The contract locked me into a commitment that did not fall under the National Credit Act. The insurance was ridiculously high and the repayments were abnormally high.

But I needed a car!  So I took it.

Very soon, I started struggling to make creditor payments and pay my children’s school fees.  While I am a proud man, I had to turn to my employer to give me an advance on my commission.  They assisted me for about three months and then suggested that I consider debt review because the advance on salary every month was not sustainable.

That’s when I started talking to Karin. 

I was very doubtful and my pride was making me resist the inevitable – I had to admit I needed help. 

Now, Karin and I come from two very different backgrounds, so we needed to get on the same footing. She needed to understand my needs and culture and I needed to understand her and her duties which she had to adhere to as this whole debt review thing falls under the National Credit Act and the Regulator checks up on her from time to time.

I also needed to understand that there would need to be a minimum repayment amount because creditors want their “pound of flesh”.  I needed to be able to pay enough off each month and still be able to pay within 5 years maximum.

Let me tell you quickly, my application date was 20 April 2017.  My clearance was issued on 09 March 2020.  So, if you think you are stuck under debt review for five years, remember this is a guideline. 

I didn’t believe that I could pay my debt review, the car lease plus support myself and my sons, but I did. 

My firstborn now works with me and my second born is in his first year at university.

I really struggled at first to adjust to my new budget, but after about a year, I got a bonus which I wanted to put on one of my debts, phoned Karin, discussed the creditors and their balances plus interest rates, decided which one could be settled and we allocated additional funds to that one.

I am a “results man”. 

It really took a long time to see any meaningful change. I have to admit I felt frustrated and locked in. When she sent me my first paid up letter, I was overjoyed.  Finally I was seeing some results! 

So, every time I got a good commission, I phoned her and paid extra in, while she allocated the funds to the appropriate account.  After the second creditor got paid off, things started moving really fast.  For quite some time, I kept paying extra into that large account until eventually I only had two accounts to pay off.

The last payments went very quickly.

Paying off the last two went very quickly because the repayment amount had increased whenever I could afford to pay more, and all that money was going to the last two accounts. So, when I got my last paid up letter, I felt a sense of relief that I find it difficult to put into words.

Immediately when the last paid up letter came in, Karin prepared the Clearance Certificate, removed my name from the NCR Debthelp and sent all the documents to the Credit bureaus to update my records.


I am now free of debt and have a lot of extra cash in my monthly budget.  I am saving now.  My car lease also came to an end last month, so now I own my own car and feel this overwhelming sense of Freedom!

Cape Debt Clinic would like to thank Chris Madondo for sharing his debt review experience so candidly – the difficult parts as well as the rewards of his perseverance. We hope that this real-life debt review story has helped you as the reader understand how this process may look for you.