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CONDUCTING SLAUGHTERING RITUALS IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD IN URBAN AREAS

CONDUCTING SLAUGHTERING RITUALS IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD IN URBAN AREAS

Slaughtering for the purpose of showing gratitude, asking for protection or asking for healing from ancestors has been an African cultural tradition dating back hundreds of years. Animals included in the rituals are chickens, goats, cows and sheep, depending on the nature of the ceremony. Many arguments strike between traditionalist and animal cruelty activists, especially when the tradition is conducted in urban areas, near other neighbours. However, for the neighbourhood to get along, compromises must be made.

What laws protect traditionalists?

Section 15 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, under the Bill of Rights, states that everyone has the right to freedom of religion and belief. Section 31(1) also protects the right for people to enjoy their culture, which includes the ritual slaughter of animals as a cultural belief. It extends that observances follow rules made by public authorities. Municipal by-laws are drawn up to protect those wishing to conduct ceremonies which include the slaughtering of animals in urban areas.

Application

  1. A notice must be submitted to the local municipality 14 days before the expected commencement of the slaughtering ritual.
  2. The notification of the type of animal that will be slaughtered should also be given.
  3. Commencement of the ritual may occur when the applicant has received a permit from the municipality.

In sectional living, such as townhouses, the body corporate trustees should be notified of such a ceremony.

Procedure

The procedure of slaughtering may vary from culture to culture, however basic regulations still apply. The animals may not be kept for a period longer than 12 hours prior to slaughtering, in accordance to the terms of the Abattoir Hygiene Act of 1992.

With the purpose of respecting the neighbours association with the slaughtering, the procedure should be carried out in an enclosed area, out of the public’s eye where people not involve with the ritual would not be able to observe.

The suffering caused to the animal must be kept at a minimum, with the slaughtering being conducted in a humane manner. Once the ritual has been completed, proper steps must be complied with in carcass removal, as well as with the hygiene and the city ordinances to ensure the respect of the neighbourhood. Furthermore, the slaughter ceremony does not constitute the selling of the meat, but rather for free consumption by those in attendance of the ritual.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

 References:

McCrindle, C. (2017). Ritual Slaughter in South Africa. [ebook] Pretoria: University of Pretoria, p.2. Available at: http://accounts.unipg.it/~beniamino.cencigoga/didattica/Dialrel_files/11_McCrindle.pdf [Accessed 15 Jun. 2017].

News24. (2017). By laws need to ‘accommodate slaughter’. [online] Available at: http://www.news24.com/southafrica/news/by-laws-need-to-accommodate-slaughter-20110329 [Accessed 14 Jun. 2017].

Za.sudeshkumar.org. (2017). South African ritual animal slaughter. [online] Available at: http://za.sudeshkumar.org/2011/04/south-african-ritual-animal-slaughter.html [Accessed 15 Jun. 2017].

LEGALISATION OF DOCUMENTS FOR USE ABROAD OR IN SA: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

LEGALISATION OF DOCUMENTS FOR USE ABROAD OR IN SA: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

You need to send a South African document overseas for business purposes or you are selling your South African property while you are working and residing in the United Kingdom.  What are the requirements for the documentation to be accepted and deemed to be valid and binding for the purpose for which it was executed?

The High Court Act 59 of 1959 prescribes the formalities to be complied with regarding documents which have been signed outside of South Africa for use in South Africa.  The process to be followed is contained in Rule 63 of the High Court Rules of Court (hereinafter referred to as Rule 63).

All countries have unique formalities which must be complied with regarding the execution of documentation, resulting in a diversity of different legal systems, causing a complicated chain of authentication procedures that needs to be adhered to when foreign documents are required to be legalised.  As a result hereof the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 took place, (hereinafter called the Hague Convention) having the effect of simplifying the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents.

The above resulted in the formalities of legalisation for all countries that have agreed to be part of the Hague Convention, to be changed to the simple delivery of a certificate in a prescribed form, called an “Apostille”, by the authorities of the state where the document originates.  The purpose of said certificate is to legalise a specific document by means of a certificate issued by the diplomatic or consular agents of the country in which the document is produced, which certificate certifies the authenticity of the signature, the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted, and where appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which it bears.  The formality to certify the authenticity of the signature, capacity in which the person signing the document has acted and where appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which it bears, is the addition of the Apostille (certificate), issued by the competent authority of the state from which the document emanates.   The Apostille accordingly does not relate to the content of the underlying document itself.

Here follows a short summary of what needs to be taken into account to ensure compliance with the prescribed formalities:

  1. A notary public may only authenticate documents executed in the following countries, namely: Botswana, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. No further authentication other than that the notary public is to authenticate the document by identifying the signatories thereof, and affixing his/her signature and seal of office to the document.  Accordingly no witnesses are required.
  2. If a document has been executed in any country other than the above, either the procedure described in Rule 63 may be followed, or the formalities prescribed by the Hague Convention, provided that both countries must be members of the Hague Convention in lastmentioned instance.

The difference in the authentication processes of Rule 63 and the Hague Convention are described below:

A document authenticated in terms of Rule 63 must be signed by the signatories only, and no attestation by witnesses is required.  The document is further authenticated by means of a “Certificate of Authentication” to be affixed to the document, which certificate must be issued and signed by, and bear the seal of office of any of the following, namely the head of the South African diplomatic consular mission, or a person in the administrative or professional division of the public service serving in a South African diplomatic, consular or trade office abroad, or any Government authority of such country charged with the authentication of documents under the law of such country, or the consul-general, consul, vice-consul or consular agent of the United Kingdom.

In South Africa all documentation that requires legalisation are to be sent to the Legalisation Section of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (“DIRCO”), situated in Rietondale, Pretoria.  Said department has prescribed formalities that needs to be adhered to when a request for legalisation is submitted, and it is advised that you contact your attorney or a public Notary to submit a request on your behalf should you have the need to legalize a document as such.

Authentication in terms of the Hague Convention entails the signature of the document by the signatories (again, no witnesses are required, and it includes any notarial documents attested by a notary public) and the authentication of the document by affixing an Apostille thereto.  The Apostille must comply with the prescribed format stipulated in articles 4 & 5 of the Haque Convention and must bear the title “Apostille (convention de Le Haye du 5 Octobre 1961)”.  It must furthermore be issued and signed by, and bearing the seal of office of any of the following, namely any magistrate or additional magistrate or any registrar or assistant registrar of the High Court, or any person designated by the Director-General of Justice.

The above is not a simple procedure and it is advised that you obtain legal advice when you require any documents to be legalised to ensure full compliance of all prescribed formalities.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

 

CHALLENGING ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION

CHALLENGING ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION

The municipality authorises the development of a nightclub in your neighbourhood. You and your neighbours are concerned about this and want to challenge the municipality’s decision. Such a decision by a municipality, or another organ of state, has ‘direct and immediate consequences for individuals or groups of individuals’ and amounts to administrative action. When administrative action adversely affects the rights of an individual then the administrative action may be judicially challenged on 3 grounds: (1) lawfulness; (2) procedural fairness; and (3) reasonableness.

(1) LAWFULNESS

The Constitutional Court in Fedsure Life Assurance Ltd and Others v Greater Johannesburg Transitional Metropolitan Council and Others 1999 (1) SA 374 held that administrators (i.e. municipalities or other organs of state) may exercise no power and perform no function beyond that conferred upon the by law. Lawfulness is divided into 3 categories:

(i) Authority

When an administrator lacks authority, it means that there is nothing in the law that allows the administrator (in this case, the municipality) to take that decision. There may be other reasons why an administrator does not have authority to make a decision e.g. there was unlawful delegation of decision-making power; the administrator cited the wrong legislation as the basis of their administrative action; or the administrator acted beyond the scope of the power granted to them by the empowering provision.

(ii) Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction refers to an administrator’s entitlement to act. All the prerequisites of the empowering legislation must be met before the administrator is entitled to make a decision. Absent these prerequisites, the administrator would be acting unlawfully. An example would be where the legislation only empowers a Director General to make a decision when a report from a building inspector concluding they are satisfied with the plans submitted. When the Director General makes a decision without having such a report, they are acting without jurisdiction.

(iii) Abuse of discretion –        

This is when the administrator is authorised to act and is acting within their jurisdiction, but their discretion is being abused. An administrator can abuse their discretion by: limit themselves to rigidly following a practice guideline; acting for an ulterior motive or in bad faith; failing to act; failing to consider relevant considerations or for taking irrelevant considerations into account; for acting capriciously; and lastly, for failing to apply their mind.

In our case where the municipality authorises the development of a nightclub in a quiet neighbourhood, the decision-maker may have abused their discretion by failing to consider that the area is zoned “residential” and not for “entertainment”.

(2) PROCEDURAL FAIRNESS

Section 3(1) of PAJA provides that administrative action must be procedurally fair. What is procedurally fair depends on the circumstances in each case according to s 3(2)(a) of PAJA. Generally, an administrator is required to provide: (i) adequate notice of the nature and purpose of the proposed administrative action; (ii) provide persons who would be affected a reasonable opportunity to express their concerns; (iii) the administrator should provide a clear statement of the administrative action; (iv) adequate notice of any right of review or internal appeal should be given; and lastly (v) adequate notice of the right to request reasons should also be given. The ultimate question would be whether a person’s right to be heard has adversely been affected by the procedure the administrator followed.

In our case, if the nightclub construction begins without the municipality having informed the community of its decision, then its decision would be procedurally unfair.

(3) REASONABLENESS

The court in Minister of Health NO v New Clicks SA (Pty) Ltd 2006 (2) SA 311 (CC) held that reasonableness entails rationality and proportionality. A decision must thus be rational. Proportionality requires that: (1) the decision must have a legitimate goal; (2) the decision must be objectively capable of achieving that goal; (3) there must be no ‘less harmful/restrictive means to the same goal; and (4) the decision’s adverse side-effects must not be out of all proportion to its benefits.

What is reasonable may differ on different facts. An example of an unreasonable decision would be where there is a faulty electrical supply in one house and the municipality decides to disable the entire neighbourhood’s electricity for 3 days.

CONCLUSION

The remedies available are set out in s 8 of PAJA. The default remedy when reviewing administrative action is setting aside the decision and referring it back to the administrator to decide upon it again, but this time acting within their authority, considering all the relevant information, acting procedurally fairly and reasonably. Only in limited circumstances would the court actually step into the shoes of the administrator and substitute its own decision for that of the administrator.

In our case, the municipality would have to decide again on whether to authorise the development of a nightclub in a quiet neighbourhood, but it must consider how the area has been zoned, it must give people the chance to express their concerns, they must ultimately take a reasonable decision.

Challenging administrative action legally is open to any person whose rights have adversely been affected by administrative action. Should you wish to know more, contact our offices.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

‘N GIDS TOT EKSEKUSIEVERKOPINGS

‘N GIDS TOT EKSEKUSIEVERKOPINGS

A4_Mar‘N Eksekusie verkoping is ‘n openbare veiling gehou deur die balju van die hof. ‘n Vonnisskuldeiser het ‘n hofbevel nodig om beslag te lê op ‘n bate om sodoende dit later te verkoop. Laasgenoemde vonnis kan slegs uitgevoer word deur die balju te stuur om beslag te lê op die eiendom van die vonnisskuldenaar. Geregtelike beslaglegging van eiendom, of dit nou roerende of onroerende eiendom is, beteken dat die balju ‘n inventaris van die bates van die skuldenaar opstel en hierdie bates mag nie van die perseel verwyder of vervreem word nie. Dit gee die skuldenaar ‘n geruime tyd om te probeer om die skuld te delg voordat die balju, gelas deur die prokureurs vir die eksekusieskuldeiser, die aangehegte eiendom na ‘n plek van veiligheid verwyder.Sodra die bates verwyder is, moet die prokureurs vir die eksekusieskuldeiser reël vir ‘n eksekusieverkoping, meer algemeen bekend as ‘n openbare veiling.

‘n Balju se kommissie op ‘n eksekusieverkoping word soos volg saamgestel :

  1. 6% op die eerste R30 000.00 (plus BTW);
  2. 5% op die balans van die prys.

Die minimum kommissie betaalbaar is R440.00 (plus BTW) en die maksimum is R8 750.00 (BTW uitgesluit). Dit is belangrik om daarop te let dat die kommissie deur die suksesvolle koper by die veiling betaal word en is gebaseer op die koopprys soos hierbo uiteengesit.

Die hofreëls bepaal dat die verkope by wyse van openbare veiling moet wees, maar geen voorsiening word gemaak dat billike markwaarde bereik moet word deur sulke verkope nie. Roerende en onroerende eiendom kan gekoop word by veilings teen verminderde, soms ver onder markwaarde, pryse. Die eiendom bereik dikwels nooit die waarde wat dit sou bereik in die ope mark nie. Dit is grootliks te wyte daaraan dat die verkope in teregstellings net deur die balju van die hof. Die Verweerder word nie toegelaat om te probeer om die markwaarde van sy / haar bate te verhoog deur die verkoop van daarvan in die ope mark nie.

Verder is daar geen verpligte reserwe prys vir teruggeneemde bates wat by openbare veiling verkoop word nie. ‘n Reserweprys is die minimum prys waarteen ‘n bate verkoop mag word.

Die feit dat daar geen verpligte reserwe prys is nie is die afgelope tyd ‘n warm onderwerp, veral met die koms van die era van verbruikersbeskerming. Veilings is vir die grootste gedeelte nie mededingend nie. Dit is waar dat slegs die winskoop jagter baat uit openbare veilings. Die vonnisskuldeiser word dikwels in die posisie gelaat dat die vonnisskuld nie ten volle ingevorder word nie. Die vonnisskuldeiser het in so ‘n geval steeds ‘n eis teen die skuldenaar vir die uitstaande bedrag in terme van die hofbevel.

Daar is duidelik ‘n tekort in die proses van die verkoop van bates by wyse van openbare veiling. Hierdie tekorte moet deur die howe aangespreek word om in lyn te kom met verbruikersbeskerming in Suid-Afrika. Dit is gemene saak dat die skielike veranderings in ekonomiese toestande die lewens beïnvloed van die mees ekonomies benoude mense in ons land.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

A GUIDE TO SALES IN EXECUTION

A GUIDE TO SALES IN EXECUTION

A3_MarA sale in execution is a public auction held by a sheriff of the Court. To repossess and sell an asset, an execution creditor needs to obtain a court order. Last mentioned judgment can only be executed by sending the sheriff of the court to attach the property of the debtor. Judicial attachment of property, be that movable or immovable property, means that the sheriff draws an inventory of the assets of the debtor and those attached assets may not be removed from the premises or alienated. This gives the debtor some time to try and settle the debt before the sheriff is instructed by the attorneys for the execution creditor to remove the attached property to a place of safety.Once the assets have been removed, and are in the custody of the sheriff, the attorneys for the execution creditor arrange for a sale in execution, more commonly referred to as a public auction.

A sheriff charges commission on a sale in execution made up as follows:

  1. 6% on the first R30 000.00 (plus VAT);
  2. 5% on the balance of the price.

The minimum commission payable is R440.00 (plus VAT) and the maximum is R8 750.00 (excluding VAT). It is important to note that the commission is payable by the successful buyer at the auction and is based on the purchase price as set out above.

The Rules of Court stipulate that these sales have to be by way of auction but no provision is made for the fact that fair market value must be achieved. Movable and immovable property can be purchased at greatly discounted, sometimes well below their market value, prices at sales in execution. The property often never reaches the value it would have had it been sold in the open market. This is largely due to the fact that sales in executions may only be held by the sheriff of the court. The execution debtor is not allowed to attempt to increase the market value of his/her asset by selling same in the open market.

Furthermore there is no mandatory reserve price for repossessed assets sold at a public auction. A reserve price is a price that may be placed on an asset on auction, effectively meaning that that same asset may not be sold for less than the reserve price.

The fact that there is no mandatory reserve price has been a hot topic in recent years, especially with the advent of the era of consumer protection. Auctions for most part remain anti-competitive. It is true that no one but the bargain hunter gains from these public auctions. The execution creditor is often left without the judgment debt being recovered in full. The judgment creditor still has a claim for the outstanding amount in terms of the judgment.

There are clear short falls in the process of selling assets by way of public auction. These shortfalls need to be addressed by the courts to fall in line with consumer protection in South Africa. It is common cause that sudden changes in economic conditions vastly influence the lives of the most economically distressed in our country.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your attorney for specific and detailed advice. (E&OE)

 

OPENBARE OORLASTE: WETLIKE REGTE IN TERME VAN WETGEWING

OPENBARE OORLASTE: WETLIKE REGTE IN TERME VAN WETGEWING

A2_BPersone wat ontwrigtende dade van onaanvaarbare gedrag in openbare plekke pleeg, mag gewaarsku en daarna deur die owerhede in hegtenis geneem word. Die oortreder sal aanspreeklik wees vir ‘n boete, gevangenisstraf of beide by skuldigbevinding. Hoe word hierdie toepassing van ons regte behaal deur ‘n gewone burger?

‘n Openbare oorlas is ‘n kriminele misdaad; dit is ‘n daad of versuim wat belemmer, skade berokken, of die regte van die gemeenskap verontrief. Die term openbare oorlas dek ‘n wye verskeidenheid van geringe misdade wat die gesondheid, morele waardes, veiligheid, gerief, gemak of welsyn van ‘n gemeenskap bedreig.

Wetgewing bied verligting in hierdie verband, spesifiek in die verordeninge van die plaaslike munisipaliteite. ‘n Verordening is ‘n wet wat deur die Raad van ‘n munisipaliteit aangeneem word om die sake en die dienste wat dit bied binne sy regsgebied te reguleer. ‘n Munisipaliteit verkry die magte om ‘n verordening goed te keur van die Grondwet van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika.

Met betrekking tot openbare oorlaste sou ‘n mens kyk na Verordening op Strate, Openbare Plekke en die Voorkoming van Stoornisse, 2007. Die grootste deel van hierdie verordening lys sekere handelinge wat as verbode gedrag geag word en daarmee gekriminaliseer word. Verskillende aksies, insluitend bedel, die gebruik van beledigende of dreigende taal, om onder die invloed van dwelms of alkohol te wees en ‘n versteuring te veroorsaak deur te skreeu, gil of enige ander harde en aanhoudende geraas of klank, insluitend versterkte geraas en klank te maak, word daarin gelys.

Indien enigiemand se gedrag binne hierdie definisie val en hy enige of verskeie verbode handelinge van openbare oorlas uitvoer, moet die owerhede onmiddellik in kennis gestel word. Die owerhede het die mag om die oortreder te gelas om die gewraakte gedrag onmiddellik te staak, by versuim waarvan hy aan ‘n misdryf skuldig sal wees.

Artikel 23 bepaal dat enige persoon wat oortree of versuim om te voldoen aan ‘n bepaling van hierdie verordening of versuim om enige instruksie deur die owerhede wat hierdie verordening afdwing, te gehoorsaam, aan ‘n misdryf skuldig sal wees. Die oortreder sal aanspreeklik wees vir ‘n boete of gevangenisstraf vir ‘n tydperk van hoogstens ses maande, of vir beide ‘n boete en sodanige gevangenisstraf.

Dit is dus voor die hand liggend dat deur die identifisering van sekere handelinge van onaanvaarbare, aggressiewe, dreigende, beledigende of obstruktiewe gedrag van persone in die openbaar, die oortreder gelas kan word om onmiddellik sodanige gewraakte optrede te staak of in hegtenis geneem te word vir die nie-nakoming van enige opdrag om die optrede te staak.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies

Verwysingslys:

  1. http://openbylaws.org.za/za/by-law/cape-town/2007/streets-public-places-noise-nuisances/
  1. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Public Nuisance
  1. http://openbylaws.org.za/
  1. https://www.capetown.gov.za/en/bylaws/Pages/Home.aspx
PUBLIC NUISANCES: LEGAL RIGHTS IN TERMS OF LEGISLATION

PUBLIC NUISANCES: LEGAL RIGHTS IN TERMS OF LEGISLATION

A2_BPersons who commit disruptive acts of unacceptable behaviour in public places may be warned, arrested and subsequently prosecuted by the authorities. The offender shall be liable for a fine, imprisonment or both upon conviction. How is this enforcement of our rights achieved by an ordinary citizen?

A public nuisance is a criminal wrong; it is an act or omission that obstructs, damages, or inconveniences the rights of the community. The term public nuisance covers a wide variety of minor crimes that threaten the health, morals, safety, comfort, convenience or welfare of a community.[1]

Legislation offers relief in this respect, in specific by-laws of local Municipalities. A by-law is a law that is passed by the Council of a municipality to regulate the affairs and the services it provides within its area of jurisdiction[2]. A municipality derives the powers to pass a by-law from the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

With regards to Public Nuisances one would look to By-law Relating to Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisances, 2007[3]. The main body of this by-law lists certain acts that are deemed prohibited behaviour and are therewith criminalised. Various acts including begging, using abusive or threatening language, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol and causing a disturbance by shouting, screaming or making any other loud or persistent noise or sound, including amplified noise or sound are listed therein.[4]

Should anyone and his conduct fall within this definition and perform any or multiple prohibited acts of public nuisance, the authorities are to be alerted immediately. The authorities have the power to instruct the offender to immediately cease the offending behaviour, failing which he will be guilty of an offence.

Section 23 states that any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any provision of this by-law or disobeys any instruction by the authorities enforcing this by-law, shall be guilty of an offence. This offender shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

It is therefore evident that by identifying certain acts of unacceptable, aggressive, threatening, abusive or obstructive behaviour of persons in public the offender may be ordered to immediately cease such offending conduct or be arrested for not complying with any order to do so.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. (E & OE) 

Reference List:

  1. http://openbylaws.org.za/za/by-law/cape-town/2007/streets-public-places-noise-nuisances/
  1. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Public Nuisance
  1. http://openbylaws.org.za/
  1. https://www.capetown.gov.za/en/bylaws/Pages/Home.aspx

[1] http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Public Nuisance

[2] https://www.capetown.gov.za/en/bylaws/Pages/Home.asp

[3] http://openbylaws.org.za/za/by-law/cape-town/2007/streets-public-places-noise-nuisances/

[4] Section 2 By-law Relating to Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisances, 2007

TERSYDESTELLING VAN VONNIS

TERSYDESTELLING VAN VONNIS

A1bStel jouself voor, die onaangename verrassing as jy onverwags ʼn vonnis by verstek ontvang, as gevolg van ʼn dagvaardiging wat jy nooit ontvang het nie. Dit is belangrik dat jy bewus is van die prosedures wat gevolg moet word om so ʼn vonnis teen jou ter syde te laat stel.

Dit gebeur gereeld dat individue hulself in die ongewenste situasie bevind dat ʼn vonnis by verstek, sonder hul medewete, teen hulle aangeteken word. Die voorafgenoemde wanneer ʼn party versuim om die kennisgewing van voorneme om te verdediging te liasseer, dit gee dan aanleiding daartoe dat die Eiser daarop geregtig is om aansoek te doen vir vonnis by verstek.[1]

Die rede waarom sommige Aangeklaagdes versuim om die kennisgewing van voorneme om te verdedig te liasseer, is as gevolg van die feit dat hulle nooit die dagvaardiging ontvang het nie. Die betekening van prosesstukke is slegs ʼn vereiste in gevalle waar die aangeleentheid ʼn persoon se persoonlike status beïnvloed, soos in die geval van egskeidings en sekwestrasies. Aangesien dit is nie ʼn vereiste is dat die Balju persoonlik ʼn dagvaardiging aan die Aangeklaagde moet beteken nie, kan situasies ontstaan waar die Aangeklaagde nooit die dagvaardiging gesien, of ontvang, het nie, ten spyte daarvan dat die Balju dit wel op die aangewese en voorgeskrewe wyse beteken het.[2]

Die bogenoemde vind byvoorbeeld plaas wanneer die sogenaamde domicilium citandi et executandi (ʼn adres wat deur die Aangeklaagde aangedui word as die adres waarna pleitstukke gestuur moet word) nie meer die korrekte adres is nie. Indien die nuwe adres nie aangeteken is nie, sal die Balju steeds die dagvaardiging na die eerste (en dus verkeerde) adres stuur om te beteken.

Indien ʼn verstek van vonnis teen ʼn Aangeklaagde aangeteken word, moet sekere stappe geneem word om die vonnis ter syde te laat stel. Volgens die Landdroshofreëls, moet die Aangeklaagde binne 20 dae nadat hy bewus geword het van die vonnis, kennis gee van sy aansoek van tersydestelling.[3] Daar word van die Aangeklaagde (wat nou as die Applikant bekend staan) vereis om in ʼn beëdigde verklaring te verduidelik waarom die saak nie verdedig was nie en wat sy verdediging tot die eis is. Die bewyslas berus op die Applikant om geldige redes te verskaf vir waarom die aksie nie verdedig was nie.[4]

Wanneer ʼn aansoek vir die tersydestelling van vonnis gebring word, geld die volgende beginsels:[5]

Die Applikant moet ʼn redelike verduideliking gee vir sy versuim om die saak te verdedig. Die hof nie bereid om te help, indien daar gevind word dat die Applikant bewus was van die aksie teen hom en dat sy eie nalatigheid daartoe gelei het dat hy nie die saak verdedig het nie. Opsetlike verstek of nalatigheid aan die kant van die Aangeklaagde sal as bepalende faktore deur die hof oorweeg word wanneer daar besluit word of vonnis wel ter syde gestel moet word.

In baie gevalle doen ʼn Applikant bloot aansoek vir tersydestelling van vonnis om die onvermydelike uit te stel. Die Applikant moet bewys dat hy nie bloot die Eiser se saak probeer vertraag nie. Daar word dus van die Applikant verreis om ʼn bona fide verdediging, of te wel ʼn werklike verdediging, aan te voer, alhoewel dit nie nodig is vir die Applikant om die meriete van die verdediging te bewys of enige getuienis hieroor te lewer nie.

Die hof beskik oor die diskresie om te bepaal of die vonnis wel ter syde gestel kan word, na gelang van die rede wat deur die Applikant aangevoer is tydens die aansoek.[6]

Alhoewel hierdie proses dikwels lank en duur is, is die van uiterse beland om enige ongeregverdigde vonnisse teen jou naam ter syde te stel, sodra jy daarvan bewus word. Hierdie vonnisse het ʼn negatiewe impak op jou krediet rekord. Indien die balju onverwags met ʼn lasbrief by jou opdaag om op jou persoonlike bates beslag te lê, kan dit ook aanleiding gee tot emosionele ontwrigting en verlies aan aansien.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies. (E&OE)

[1] Landroshofrëels, Reël 12(1)(c)

[2] Landroshofrëels, Reël 9(3)

[3] Landroshofrëels, Reël 49(1)

[4] Du Plessis v Tager 1953 (2) SA 5 (O)

[5] Grant v Plumbers (Pty) Ltd 1949 (2) SA 470 (O)

[6] De Witts Auto Body Repairs v Fedgen Insurance Co Ltd 1994 (4) SA 705

RESCISSION OF JUDGEMENT

RESCISSION OF JUDGEMENT

A1bImagine receiving the nasty surprise that default judgement has been entered against your name because of a summons that you have never even received. It is necessary that you know the procedure of how to rescind a default judgement to get you out of this unwanted situation.

Many people are confronted with the unfortunate situation of a judgement being entered against their name, without even being aware that legal action is being taken against them. The reason for this is that when a party fails to deliver a notice of intention to defend a summons, a Plaintiff is entitled to lodge an application for default judgment.[1]

The reason for many Defendants not filing a notice of intention to defend, is the fact that they simply never receive the summons initiating an action against them. Personal service of documents by the Sheriff is only required where the matter affects a person’s personal status, such as with divorces and sequestrations. As it is not a requirement for the Sheriff personally, to serve a summons on a person, it can lead to situations where the Defendant never sees the summons, although the Sheriff stated that the summons has been legitimately served.[2] An example hereof many people who indicate their domicilium citandi et executandi or nominated address where notices are sent, in an agreement. In the event of the Defendant moving, the Sheriff will still deliver the summons to this address, but the Defendant will never receive it.

In the event of a Defendant not receiving a summons, certain steps have to be taken to have the judgment rescinded. The Defendant has to serve and file his application for rescission of judgment within 20 days after becoming aware of the judgment that was entered against him.[3] The Defendant (now the Applicant) is required to set out in an affidavit why the matter was not defended and what the bona fide defence is to the claim.  The onus is upon the Applicant to set out legitimate reasons for why the matter was not defended.[4]

When bringing an application for the rescission of judgement before court, the following principles are applicable:[5]

The Applicant must give a reasonable explanation for his default. The court will be unwilling to help the Applicant if it is found that he was aware of the proceedings against him or if the default was simply due to his own negligence. If the Applicant’s default is of a wilful or negligent nature, these will serve as considerations that the court will take into account when deciding whether an application should be granted.

In many cases an Applicant simply rescinds a default judgement to delay the inevitable. It is therefore necessary for the Applicant to show that he is not simply delaying the Plaintiff’s claim. A bona fide defence, in other word a genuine defence, must therefore be shown, although it is not required to deal fully with the merits thereof or produce any evidence in this regard.

Ultimately, the court has discretion whether to rescind the default judgment or not, based on whether good cause was shown by the Applicant.[6]

Although it involves an unwanted and often lengthy and expensive process, it is important to have any judgments against your name rescinded as soon as possible, as they have a negative impact on your credit rating. These judgements, if executed, will also leave you highly annoyed when the Sheriff shows up on your doorstep with a warrant of execution to seize your personal belongings.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).

[1] Magistrates Court, Rules of Court, Rule 12(1)(c)

[2] Magistrates Court, Rules of Court, Rule 9(3)

[3] Magistrates Court, Rules of Court, Rule 49(1)

[4] Du Plessis v Tager 1953 (2) SA 5 (O)

[5] Grant v Plumbers (Pty) Ltd 1949 (2) SA 470 (O)

[6] De Witts Auto Body Repairs v Fedgen Insurance Co Ltd 1994 (4) SA 705

STEPS OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

STEPS OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

A2BThe purpose of criminal procedure is to ensure the security and safety of the public through effective investigation of crimes so that criminals can be identified and brought to justice.

First the crime is reported to the police station. Thereafter the police opens a docket and the crime is investigated by the investigating officer. Next the docket is sent to Court and the prosecutor must make a decision as to whether further investigation is necessary. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decides whether to prosecute or not. If the NPA decides not to prosecute, it is most likely because the case is not strong enough, for example if there is too little evidence available. If the NPA decides that the accused will be prosecuted, the case is sent to Court for indictment.

The prosecutor may decide on diversion of the case as an alternative decision. Diversion is a system for first time offenders charged with petty crimes. They are given a chance to do community service, pay for damages resulting from the crime, undergo treatment for alcohol or drug problems, and/or counselling for antisocial or mentally unstable behaviour. When the case is heard in Court, the accused may apply to be released on bail. The effect of bail is that an accused who is in custody is released from custody upon payment of the amount of money determined for his or her bail, or the furnishing of a guarantee to pay it. He/she must then appear at the place and on the date and at the stipulated time determined for his or her trial, or to which the proceedings relating to the offense of which the accused is released on bail. The Constitution provides for the following: “Everyone who is arrested for allegedly committing an offence has the right to be released from detention if the interests of justice permit, subject to reasonable conditions.”

At the start of a trial, the prosecutor states the charges laid against the accused. The accused then pleads to the charge, which might be guilty or not guilty. If the accused pleads not guilty, the case must proceed to trial. The matter may be postponed to obtain further evidence or to get a lawyer for the accused.

On the day of the trial the prosecutor will first call witnesses to testify so that it can be proved that the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Thereafter the accused or his/her attorney will also call witnesses to testify or produce evidence. After both sides have been heard, the presiding officer must make a decision as to whether the accused is guilty or not. If the accused is found guilty, the accused will be sentenced by the presiding officer. The Court may consider other sentencing options besides imprisonment or fines. If sentenced to prison, the accused may be released on parole under certain circumstances. 

Reference list:

  • Joubert, 2001, Criminal ProcedureHandbook.
  • TheNationalProsecuting Authority ofSouthAfrica, 2008, Understanding theCriminal Justice System.
  • The ConstitutionofSouthAfrica, 1996.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.