For purposes of publication in the SABFS Newsletter I will focus on the procedures after the motor vehicle has been attached by the sheriff or deputy sheriff but before the sale in execution.
It is proposed that sheriffs liaise with the Motor Vehicle Licensing Authorities to obtain important information on the EXECUTION DEBTOR, REGISTERED OWNER and TITLEHOLDER as well as information on the MOTOR VEHICLE itself.
In the past the Motor Vehicle Licensing Authorities were extremely reluctant to furnish the office of the sheriff with any information whatsoever.
After the sale in execution purchasers had endless trouble to register motor vehicles on their names, despite the office of the sheriff furnishing the purchaser with an appropriate letter, an affidavit from the sheriff confirming the sale in execution, certified copies of the warrant of execution, notice of sale, veduroll and proof of advertisement.
This lead to purchasers no longer willing to pay reasonable prices for motor vehicles at sheriffs sales.
Attorneys even went so far as to instruct sheriffs to refrain from attaching motor vehicles.
How will this issue be resolved?
Important information need to be furnished after attachment but before the actual sale in execution.
The Motor Vehicle Licensing Authorities need to forward this information to the sheriff.
A copy of the Warrant of Execution, Notice of Attachment and a letter on the Letterhead of the Sheriff must be forwarded to the Motor Vehicle Licensing Authorities after attachment.
In this letter the sheriff requests information regarding the ownership of the motor vehicle as well as the titleholder of the motor vehicle and all other details on the motor vehicle such as registration number, engine number, VIN number as well as advice on the amount of outstanding fines, should it be applicable.
Once the above information has been lodged with the Motor Vehicle Licensing Authorities, the Motor Vehicle Licensing Authorities must within 5 working days furnish the sheriff with an eNatis printout.
The costs of the eNatis report should be deducted from the proceeds of the sale in execution.
Once in receipt of the eNatis information is it possible for the sheriff to book a sale in execution, or alternatively release the motor vehicle from attachment.
Llewellyn SharpSheriff P.E. North
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Judge Esther Steyn’s ruling has been hailed as progressive and “in keeping with the times”.
It pertains to a matter where Cecil Schickerling of CMC Woodworking Machine (Pty) Ltd is suing Pieter Odendaal for R126 700 over the sale of a woodworking machine.
“Changes in communication technology have increased exponentially; therefore it is not unreasonable to expect the law to recognise such changes and accommodate it,” said Steyn in a written explanation.
“The present application, in my view, would not have been possible had it not been for a recent amendment to the uniform rules of a court which provides for service by way of electronic mail, registered post and fax,” said the judge.
Steyn said that before granting the application to use Facebook as a medium to serve a legal notice
she studied the workings of Facebook and surmised that it could be used as an effective tracing tool and it could relay information to individuals concerned.
Steyn was also satisfied that there could be no claims of mistaken identity as the photos lodged in the defendant’s photo album are clear and he’s identifiable, and his privacy has not been compromised having studied how messages are sent.
Apparently, after preliminary legal processes in the Schickerling versus Odendaal matter started during 2006, it was set down as awaiting trial in May 2008. But in April 2010 the defendant’s attorney’s served notice of their withdrawal from the matter.
Since then, every attempt by the sheriff of the court and tracing agents to serve the notice on Odendaal proved futile. As a last resort, Schickerling’s attorney, Ian King, tracked Odendaal on Facebook and posted the notice
The Law Society of SA gave Steyn’s ruling the thumbs-up. The society’s co-chairman Krish Govender said: “The judgment by Steyn must be seen as progressive and in keeping with the times we live in, particularly if it promotes access to justice.”
If Odendaal checks his Facebook messages he will learn that the trial date has been set down for August 29 and a pre-trial conference will be held on August 14.
And, as a precautionary measure Schickerling’s legal team will also publicise the notices in the August 13 edition of The Mercury. - INL