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Sheriffs

Who is the Sheriff?

The sheriff is an impartial and independent official of the Court appointed by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development.

What does the Sheriff do?

The Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff must serve or execute all documents issued by our courts. These include summonses, notices, warrants and court orders.

Who regulates the Sheriff’s actions?

The South African Board for Sheriffs (SABFS) monitors the service of Sheriffs and their Deputies, ensuring it is executed in a humane manner in terms of the Code of Conduct for Sheriffs. Sheriffs operate independently from each other, in fact, they are private business people.

How do you know if the person knocking on your door is really a Sheriff?

All Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs 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.

What does the Sheriff do?

The Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff must serve or execute all documents issued by our courts. These include summonses, notices, warrants and court orders.

What right does the Sheriff have?

When executing duties with a legal court order the Sheriff can:
Enter your premises, even when you're not there, open any door, vehicle of piece of furniture on your premises. Attach, remove and sell your vehicle, furniture and movable or immovable property.

What rights do you have?

* The Sheriff must treat you with dignity at all times.
* The Sheriff must explain the contents of the document and what you need to do next.
* The Sheriff may not attach and remove necessary items such as food and beds, beddings and clothes. There are also limitations on other things, such as tools of trade you may need to carry out your work, that may not be attached.

What area does the Sheriff cover?

Sheriffs are appointed to act within a specific magisterial district or an area within a district.

What type of cases involve the Sheriff?

The role of the Sheriff is required when there are civil judgements against people who have failed to pay their accounts, their rent or municipal services and maintenance. They also serve documents in divorce and family violence matters.

What do you do if you have a complaint against a Sheriff?

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.

For more information and to locate a sheriff, visit the South African Board of Sheriffs' website: www.sheriffs.org.za

GG 35696, GoN 764 [283kb] Sheriffs Act: Appointment of Sheriffs (14 Sep 2012)

The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development,have under section 2 of the Sheriffs Act, 1986 (Act No. 90 of 1986), appointed persons listed in the accompanying Schedule as sheriffs in vacant offices corresponding to their names. The appointments take effect on 1 December 2012 or any other date as may be arranged between the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the persons I have so appointed as sheriffs, which must be a date before 1 December 2012. Enquiries in this regard may be made at the South African Board for Sheriffs at the following contact details: 021 462 3209 or website www.sheriffs.org.za.