Fidelity Fund for Sheriffs
Purpose of the Fund
In terms of section 35 of the Sheriffs Act, No. 90 of 1986 (“the Act”), the primary purpose of the Sheriff’s Fidelity Fund (“the Fund”) is to reimburse members of the public who may suffer a lossupon the theft of money entrusted to a Sheriff or his deputy or a member of staff in the course of his/her duties.
Requirements for establishing a claim
To establish a claim against the Fund, a claimant must prove that:
- he/she has suffered a monetary loss
- failure of a Sheriff to pay out money controlled by virtue of his office
Entrustment means that the Sheriff is bound to hold and apply the money for the benefit of some person or persons.
Procedure for lodgement of claim
Claim must be lodged with the Board within 3 months on the prescribed claim form from date of occurrence/event in terms of Section 36(1) of the Act.
(Claim form available for download – SABFS Form 6 Claim against FFC (39 KB))
The claim form should be accompanied by the following documents:
- A sworn statement/Affidavit made by the claimant setting out the circumstances of the claim.
- A Power of Attorney if claim is lodged by a legal representative.
- Documentary proof substantiating the claim which amongst others will include, Sheriffs returns, proof of payment to the Sheriff, distribution accounts, paid cheques or any other relevant documents to proof the claim.
Typical losses covered by the Fund include:
- Monies held as a result of sales in execution.
- Monies held pending registration of transfer of immovable properties.
- Monies held as a result of payments made to a Sheriff by judgment debtors.
The Fund does not reimburse losses suffered as a result of negligence by a Sheriff in the conduct of his/her practice. Certain relationships such as family, business or partnership associations will preclude a person from claiming against the Fund.
Any person, who believes that he/she has a claim against the Fund, should note the following:
- Notice of the claim should be given to the South African Board for Sheriffs within a period of three months after the claimant became aware of the theft, or by the exercise of reasonable care should have become aware of the theft (Section 36 (1) of the Act).
- Such proof as the Fund may reasonably require should be furnished within six months after receipt of a written demand requesting the submission of such proof (section 36(2) (b).
Applications for Fidelity Fund Certificates
Application Procedure and Guidelines
Sheriffs are required to obtain a Fidelity Fund Certificate each year in terms of Section 30 to 34 of the Sheriffs Act 90 of 1986. This certificate is issued by the South African Board of Sheriffs upon application.
The application of a Fidelity Fund Certificate must be submitted to the South African Board for Sheriffs in advance for the coming year on or before the 31st of October 2012, and must include the following:
- Completed and signed application form. The Fidelity Fund Certificate will not be issued if the application form is incomplete (Application form 4 (39 KB) is available for download.)
- Prescribed contributions in terms of section 31(2) of the Sheriffs Act, this amounts to R 500,00 for a Sheriff and R 300,00 for a Deputy Sheriff.
- Documentary proof that Professional indemnity insurance is in place.
- Certified copy of Identity document.
Fund of last resort
In terms of section 37(2), the Fund may require a claimant to exhaust all available legal remedies against the practitioner concerned, and against any other persons liable in respect of the loss suffered, before having recourse to the Fund. However, the Board of Sheriff’s is empowered to waive compliance with this requirement and claimants are therefore requested not to take any steps for the direct recovery of what is owed by a defaulting Sheriff until such time as they are advised by the Fund to do so.
Correspondence with respect to claims should be addressed to:
The Claims Division
South African Board for Sheriffs
PO Box 15223, Vlaeberg
Tel: 021 426 0577
Fax: 021 426 2598
and should bear the claim reference number assigned to each claim by the Fund, as will appear in the caption of every letter written by the Fund.