Who is the Sheriff ?
In South Africa, the Sheriff is an independent Officer of the Court who acts as a third party to serve court processes and to execute the Warrants and Orders of the Court which are issued in terms of the Act and the Rules of the different Courts. The Sheriff is therefore an impartial officer of the judiciary and should not be seen as an agent of the plaintiff or a spokesman for the defendant.
The Sheriff is appointed by the Minister of Justice and his/her conduct is regulated by the Board for Sheriffs established in terms of the Sheriffs Act No. 90 of 1986. Deputy Sheriffs, to assist the Sheriff, may be appointed only with the permission of the Board for Sheriffs. Each person thus appointed must carry a Certificate of Appointment while on duty and which must be produced on request.
The South African Board for Sheriffs is a statutory body in terms of the Sheriffs Act No. 90 of 1986 and its members are appointed by the Minister of Justice. It is funded by the Sheriffs by means of a levy. The function of the Board is to regulate the profession which inter alia means to protect the interest of any third parties (i.e. the public, attorneys, etc.). The Board controls and manages a fidelity fund and has wide disciplinary powers to discipline wrongdoers.
The public can submit complaints against a Sheriff or his Deputy by way of sworn affidavit to P O Box 5454, Cape Town, 8000 or
Fax (021) 462-2099.
Office and Duties of the Sheriff
The Sheriffs conducts a wide range of duties which vary from the service and execution of court processes to the holding of public auctions for movable and immovable property attached in the execution of Warrants of the Court.The Sheriff is NOT a public servant.
Authorization to Serve and Execute
The Sheriff or his/her duly appointed deputy are the ONLY persons authorized to serve, execute and demand payment in respect of duly issued court processes i.e. summonses, emolument attachment orders, warrants and court orders – do not be misled by so-called bogus Sheriffs who may threaten you, attach and repossess your car or furniture UNLESS you have given the seller permission to effect restitution voluntarily.
If you are in any doubt about the validity of a Sheriffs actions ask for the Sheriff’s Certificate of Appointment and if it cannot be produced inform my office or the Board for Sheriffs immediately to enable us to investigate the matter and lay a criminal charge when and where necessary.
Obstruction of the Sheriff
Any person who obstructs the Sheriff or Deputy in the performance of their duties or provides false information is guilty of a punishable offence and may be prosecuted.
Payment of Monies
Only the Sheriff or his/her Deputy may demand payment in terms of a Warrant of Execution.
On payment to the Sheriff/Deputy they are obliged to give you a receipt by endorsing the amount paid on the original and the copy of the warrant. You must both sign the endorsement and the copy thereof must be handed to you. Should the Sheriff or Deputy misappropriate money you have paid, your interest will be protected by the Fidelity Fund for the Board for Sheriffs.
The Sheriff regularly conducts legal sales by means of public auctions of movable goods (furniture, office equipment, etc.) and immovable properties (houses, townhouses, etc.) which were attached in terms of warrants issued by the different Courts. More detail regarding these auctions are published on the website and in newspapers. For enquires contact our offices or visit the movable and immovable links on this site.