The programme shows ways to manage your debt and gives Mzansi viewers valuable no-nonsense advice on how to get on the road to financial recovery. Each In Debt show deals with a different real-life situation of someone heavily in debt. This is someone who could lose everything. Great advice and action plans are given by our Debt Doctor, Thoko Nchabaleng, who is an experienced debt counsellor. It is often ‘tough love’ with solutions that persuade each of our characters to change their ways and solve the financial crisis they face. The doctor’s ‘medicine’ is often hard to swallow, but the result is that these people get themselves out of the debt trap. They get back to living without the threat of repossession or blacklisting.

“Our viewers will benefit greatly from the introduction of this particular show, as it teaches on how to properly manage finances and avoid debt pitfalls,” says Vukile Madlala, the channel’s publicity manager.

In the first episode of In Debt we meet Susan from Florida. Or is she from Bramley? She owns a house in Bramley, but she doesn’t live in it – she was forced to rent elsewhere to try to pay back the home loan through her tenants. But the tenants are not paying! Her sorry situation doesn’t end there: Her husband went AWOL and left her with the mortgage to pay; he also left with one of their two cars that she is grudgingly paying off. Plus Susan has credit card debt and personal loans. What does this mean for Susan? She needs to pay over R20 000 every month to her creditors but she only has R14 900 a month available to do this, so her debt is spiralling out of control. But the Debt Doctor has a plan for Susan. She sets several challenges for Susan that will put her on the road to debt recovery. If Susan commits to do these tasks, she could turn her debt situation around in a few months. But will she? With a situation like Susan’s, it seems as if she doesn’t have a choice.

Our country is in trouble: With 18.3-million credit-active consumers in South Africa with an average of 3 accounts each; and of these, 8.6-millionhave missed more than two instalments. Around 5 000 cars are being repossessed monthly and South Africans spend about 78 cents of every R1 to service their debt (up from 48 cent in 2003). Why are we in this mess? What is wrong with our spending habits?

In Debt is produced by Ochre moving Pictures for SABC 1.