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
On 15 March 2012 Minister Jeff Radebe and Deputy Minister Andries Nel called the new Boardmembers together for the first time in Cape Town. The services of five of the previous Boardmembers were retained to ensure continuity during the appointment process.
The South African Board for Sheriffs (SABFS) was invited to attend the Women’s Day Atlantis Service Delivery Imbizo in Atlantis hosted by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
The purpose of the Imbizo emanated from a number of complaints relating to the community being fed up with drug addiction and gangsterism in their community, why are alleged criminals released on bail? How does bail work? Problems experienced in the serving of Domestic violence protection orders.
The Government was there to commit in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system services rendered to victims of crime, to implements social crime prevention programs, improve on investigation, strengthening the management of bail process, to rid of corrupt government officials, improve on services rendered by courts and operationalize transformed community safety forums in Atlantis.
The panel members were Snr Magistrate Mr Van Rooyen, Snr Prosecutor, Maintenance Officer, and SAPS. The main speaker was Mr Hishaam Mohamed Regional Head of Western Cape.
The launch was very informative and was received well by the community and they had an opportunity to voice out their frustration and also assist the government on how to better their services.
We had setup a table where we handed out our sheriff’s information.See the Gallery
The Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff’s primary role is to serve or execute all documents issued by our courts. This includes summonses, notices, emolument attachment orders, warrants and court orders. All Sheriff’s and Deputy Sheriff’s must carry a valid Identification Card issued and renewable annually by the South African Board for Sheriffs. When executing duties with a legal court order the Sheriff can enter your premises, even when you are not there. Open any door, motor vehicle or piece of furniture on your premises. Attach, remove and sell your motor vehicle, furniture and movable or immovable property to recover your debt. If the person is in possession of the court order and valid Identification Card you as a member of the public have no alternative but to allow the Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff to remove your goods.Some attorneys are being instructed by financial institutions to institute legal action against members of the public who have defaulted in their payments and once judgment and a court order has been granted and obtained it is given to various debt collectors, tracers, representatives or agents who attend on the debtors residential or employment addresses. They produce the court order and requests the debtor to hand over the motor vehicle, goods or personal assets. As soon as the debtor consents to handing over of his or her assets it is deemed that the debtor consents to the financial institution repossessing the assets. The financial institution’s action by instructing these “agencies” to recover motor vehicles and other goods with a court order is unlawful. As stated, only a Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff may serve or execute court orders or judgments.
Members of the public have the right to refuse handing over their motor vehicles, goods or personal assets to the debt collectors, tracers, representatives or agents of the financial institutions.
If you have a complaint or if you are unsure of your rights feel free to contact your local Sheriffs office or the South African Board for Sheriffs.