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Justice Department Celebrates a Transforming Sheriff’s industry on World Sheriff Day

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development join hands with the international community today to celebrate the 6th World Sherriff Day, an industry which contributes significantly in the promotion of access to justice.

World Sheriffs Day is an international event that is organised by the International Union of Judicial Officers (UIHJ) to bring recognition to the Sheriffs profession and raise awareness about the role of the Sheriff in the justice system.

This year’s international day for the Sheriffs come at the time where the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is making significant progress in the transformation of the Sheriff’s profession. In 1994, there were 475 sheriffs comprised of 399 white men, 40 African men, 4 coloured men, 15 white women, 4 African women, 1 coloured and 2 Indian women.

Together with the South African Board for Sheriffs (SABFS), the department has undertaken to transform the Sheriff’s profession in the country and ensure that it reflects the demographics of the country in respect of race and gender. In the pursuit of the objectives of transformation, 124 new sheriffs were appointed in the 2012 financial year of these appointees, 64 were African, 44 white, 12 coloured and 7 Indian. To balance gender equality 32% of the new appointees were women and 68% were men.

Sheriffs have an important role in the criminal justice system as they act as third party to serve court process and to execute the warrants and orders of the court which are issued in terms of the Act and the regulations of the different Courts.

For effectiveness, the profession is closely monitored by SABFS in line with the Sheriffs Act 90 of 1986 and constitution of the country. The SABFS has an oversight role in ensuring that Sheriffs conduct themselves in a proper manner which is in accordance with the law.

The department and SABFS will continue to identify measures to transform the Sheriff’s profession, which is critical for the effective function of our courts and access to justice in generally.

Issued by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Development