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 that the person knocking on your door is 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.
What must you do if the Sheriff comes to your home or work?
- Do not hide
- Trust the Sheriff as a representative of the court
- Ask for proof of identification
- Listen carefully to the Sheriffs instructions
- Be sure to understand what you must do next
- Do not interfere with the Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff from performing their duties
- Do not give false or misleading information
- Remember the Sheriff acts under orders from the court. If you do not follow the instructions you may be liable for prosecution and further costs
What rights 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 or piece of furniture on your premises
- Attach, remove and sell your vehicle, furniture and moveable or immovable property
What rights do you have?
- The Sheriff must treat you with dignity and respect at all times
- 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.
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