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Deputy Minister Jeffery announces re-description of certain sheriff areas and advertising of vacant sheriff posts

13 December 2016

Sheriffs perform a vital role in the administration of justice. Without a proper and professional sheriffs’ profession, our civil justice system simply cannot function. 

Sheriffs are not employed by the courts, but earn their income from tariffs for the court processes served as well as a percentage of the value of property sold at auctions. Sheriffs are usually appointed for a specific magisterial district. Magisterial districts in busy urban areas, which have a lot of processes to be served, are divided into two or more sheriffs’ areas depending on the income potential. 

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is in the process of re-demarcating the magisterial districts to ensure that they generally follow municipal boundaries, having completed the process in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West. The re-demarcation of magisterial districts thus sometimes requires a re-description of service areas of sheriffs. This re-description is often difficult to achieve where a sheriff is in office, as that sheriff has a legitimate expectation not to have his or her potential income decreased.

A number of vacant offices of sheriffs within a magisterial district - whether affected by the demarcation process or not – further provided the Department with the opportunity to realign areas that had changed due to magisterial district rationalisation.  The vacancies also provide an opportunity to re-describe sheriffs’ areas within certain of the more lucrative magisterial districts – in particular in the Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg Central and Johannesburg North Magisterial Districts, to ensure greater equity between those sheriffs’ areas.  In addition, the division of Uitenhage and Kempton Park into 2 sheriffs’ areas each was not proving financially viable and these divisions have been abolished.

Mr John Jeffery, the Deputy Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development who has the delegated responsibility for sheriffs, gazetted a notice that re-described certain sheriffs’ areas and to enable a more equitable division of certain sheriffs areas.  Maps of these areas are available on: http://www.justice.gov.za/maps/maps-sheriffs.html.

Finality regarding the re-description of these areas now means that the Department is able to advertise 52 vacant offices country wide, especially those in Gauteng that have been vacant for a long period of time.

Some 46 vacant offices of sheriff for the High and Lower Courts and 6 vacant offices for the High Court were advertised in the City Press on Sunday, 11 December 2016, with the closing date of 20 January 2017.  The advertisement will be advertised in other newspapers as well and is also available on the DOJ website and the website of the South African Board for Sheriffs. Provincial Advisory Committees chaired by a judicial head, will shortlist and interview applicants and submit names to the Deputy Minister of the most fit and proper applicants to be considered for appointment. The successful candidates will assume office on 1 June 2017.

The sheriffs’ profession continues to play a vital role in the justice system and we believe that the above process will not only bring finality and greater stability within the profession but will further enhance access to the courts” said the Deputy Minister.

The service areas of sheriffs that have been changed, are:

GAUTENG

KEMPTON PARK: The current KemptonPark North and the vacant Kempton Park South have been re-described and allocated to the sheriff for Kempton Park North, as both areas fall within the proclaimed Ekurhuleni North Magisterial District. The new sheriff’s area has been re-described as the sheriff for the Kempton Park High and Lower Courts. The sheriff for Kempton Park North who was also acting in part of the Johannesburg North Magisterial district, had to relinquish this to the sheriff for Sandton North who will act there until the description of the 6 sheriffs’ service areas within the Johannesburg North Magisterial District are re-described and allocated and the vacancies of Sandton South and Randburg West are filled.

JOHANNESBURG NORTH MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: The six 6 sheriffs’ service areas in the Johannesburg North Magisterial District being Halfway House, Alexandra, Sandton North, Sandton South (vacant), Randburg South West and Randburg West (vacant) have been re-described to conform to the Rationalised Magisterial District boundary and to ensure greater income equity between the 6 areas.  The only area of non-alignment is the area of Diepsloot that will remain under the jurisdiction of the sheriff of Pretoria South West due to fact that the area is currently served by the sheriff and the office is not vacant.  The re-description was done to make the Sandton North sheriff’s office more viable. The vacant sheriff offices of Sandton South and Randburg West have been advertised.

JOHANNESURG CENTRAL MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT: The 5 sheriffs’ service areas in the Johannesburg Central Magisterial District being Johannesburg North, East, Central, West and South (vacant) have been re-described to conform to the rationalised Magisterial District of Johannesburg Central as well as to make them more equitable, whilst the sheriff office of Johannesburg South is vacant.  All sheriffs agreed with the re-description of the service areas and the vacant Johannesburg South sheriff area has been advertised.

KRUGERSDORP (MOGALE CITY): Krugersdorp has been advertised as excluding the Sub-district of Kagiso which will be re-described to conform to the Sub-district boundary of Kagiso and be allocated to the sheriff of Roodepoort South who already serves a portion of the area named Tshepisong. The vacant office of Krugersdorp will follow the rationalised Mogale City (Krugersdorp) seat boundary.

TSHWANE CENTRAL MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT:
MAMELODI - WONDERBOOM (PRETORIA NORTH): Whilst the office of Pretoria North (old Wonderboom) is vacant, the Mamelodi Sub-district of Pretoria Central Magisterial district has been re-described according to the rationalised Mamelodi Sub-district to include the entire Mamelodi. This area will be allocated to the sheriff of Cullinan as the said sheriff is already serving part of Mamelodi.

EASTERN CAPE

PORT ELIZABETH: Whilst the sheriff office of Port Elizabeth South is vacant, certain areas have been re-described and allocated to the sheriff of Port Elizabeth West to make the service area more financially viable and to have a more equal distribution of court processes between the three service areas of sheriff. The vacant office of Port Elizabeth South has been advertised.

UITENHAGE: The existing sheriff service areas of Uitenhage North (vacant) and Uitenhage South have been re-described and will be allocated to the sheriff for Uitenhage South.  The sheriff service area will be known as Uitenhage High and Lower Court.

The re-description of Kempton Park took effect on 1 December 2016, the re-description of Uitenhage will take effect on 1 March 2017 while the re-description of all other areas will take effect on 1 June 2017 when the newly appointed sheriffs for the vacant areas assume office.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s Task Team will continue its work in  Kwazulu-Natal where 3  vacant offices (Durban South; Umzinto, Turton and Vulamehlo; and Chatsworth) could not be advertised as these areas  will be affected by the rationalisation process of the magisterial districts in KwaZulu-Natal  which will only be completed in the first half of 2017.

The Deputy Minister would like to extend his appreciation to those sheriffs who assisted the Task Team appointed by the Deputy Minister to conduct the investigations.

Enquiries:
Mthunzi Mhaga
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services
0836418141
Mediaenquiries@justice.gov.za