Who Is The Sheriff Of The Court?
The sheriff is an impartial and independent official of the Court appointed by the Minister of Justice andCorrectional Services in terms of the Sheriffs Act 90 of 1986 and is regulated by the South African Board for Sheriffs who monitors service of Sheriffs and Deputies and ensuring their duties are executed in a just manner.
Mandate of Sheriffs
The Sheriff or his or her Deputy Sheriffs must serve and execute all documents issued by courts. This includes summonses, notices, warrants and court orders; this may also include other documents which form part of legal process.
If you are concerned about an individual who claims to be a Sheriff, all Sheriffs and Deputies must carry a valid identification card issued by the South African Board for Sheriffs while on duty and must be able to produce it on request.
Rights of the Sheriff
When executing duties with a legal court order the Sheriff has the duty and right to enter any premises, even when the resident or owner not there. The Sheriff may open any door, vehicle or piece of furniture on any premises for purposes of attaching and removing a vehicle, furniture, moveable or immovable property.
The Sheriff also has the powers to arrest with the authority of a court order.
Responsibilities and Rights as a member of the Public
The Sheriffs are mandated by orders of a court and as a member of the public you are legally bound to comply with the Sheriff in certain respects. Failure to do so may lead you to be liable for prosecution or further costs or both.
You should always listen carefully to the Sheriffs instructions as they may assist you in the legal process going forward;
Never interfere with the Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff from performing their duties, this also means you should never give false or misleading information and should assist the Sheriff when requested to do so;
All individuals always have the right to be treated with dignity and respect by the Sheriff.
The Sheriff must explain the contents of the document and what you need to do next.
The Sheriff must as far as possible keep your private affairs confidential.
The Sheriff may not attach and remove necessary items such as food and beds, bedding and clothes. There are also limitations on other things, such as tools of trade you may need to carry out your work, which may not be attached.
If you have any questions about a Sheriff who has arrived at your premises, contact your attorney immediately, alternatively visit the South African Boards for Sheriffs website at http://www.sheriffs.org.za.
Sheriff’s report to the South African Board for Sheriffs and must comply with various laws when performing their duties. If you have a complaint, or if you are unsure of your rights, contact the South African Board for Sheriffs at their website above.