Rot in SA Board for Sheriffs alleged

2011-09-22 10:07
Cape Town - A court case against the South African Board for Sheriffs has painted a damning picture of price gouging, mismanagement, threats and a culture of impunity within the body tasked with executing the orders of South Africa’s courts.

So deep is the rot within the organisation that Western Cape High Court Judge Nathan Erasmus resigned as chairperson and of the board in January, saying that he had “lost confidence and trust in the integrity of the majority of the appointed members of the board and cannot, as a judge, serve the interests of justice on this board”.

And when the man in charge of the board’s finances questioned its actions, the chairperson accused him of undermining her and bringing the board into disrepute, and urged him to resign.

Now Mahier Tayob, a forensic auditor and chairperson of the board’s financial committee, has launched a court action forcing the board to disclose “maladministration, fraud and misappropriation of funds” in the organisation’s annual report, as is required by law.


Among the alleged abuses detailed in documents before court are:
- The offices of the Sheriffs of Pretoria Central and Johannesburg Central operated with impunity, overcharging the Road Accident Fund by millions while threatening to attach its goods when it queried excessive fees;
- The acting chair of the body moved to quash an investigation of misconduct against a sheriff following a complaint lodged in July;
- Board members scheduled meetings in Cape Town to coincide with the Cape Town Jazz Festival, and used sheriffs' levies to foot the travel bill.
- The board turned a blind eye when it emerged that one of its own members, a sheriff for Pretoria Central, was operating without the legally required Fidelity Fund Certificate, which would render all his actions null and void;
- The board resolved not to act on a damning report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela for it failing to discipline a sheriff for negligence - after the board failed to act for nine years. The sherriff’s administrative oversight caused a Gauteng man’s assets to be attached.

Tayob brought an urgent application at the beginning of the month to have a caveat (or warning) inserted in the board’s annual financial statements, as they failed to tell the whole story of the board’s income and expenditure.

Tayob also refused to sign off on the board’s financial statements.

The South African Board for Sheriffs, which is appointed by the justice minister, opposed Tayob’s action, but ultimately agreed to include mention of Tayob’s court action. It also mentioned Erasmus’s resignation in its annual report.

As a result of Tayob’s disclosures to the external auditors, the board also received a disclaimer, with the external auditors unable to express an opinion on the financial statements.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe acknowledged in a letter to Erasmus written in February - also filed before court - that he was “deeply concerned” with Erasmus’s concerns and would “act decisively” to address them.


However, in his keynote address to the annual general meeting of the Board for Sheriffs last Thursday, he expressed support for the board’s chairperson and said he was “taken aback to learn that  a member of the board had instituted a court action against the board.

David Bam, the board’s attorney, said the board disputed Tayob’s claims and said many of his allegations were incorrect or untrue.

“All allegations of impropriety and/or wrongdoing are denied,” he said, adding that “a large number of the allegations are highly defamatory” and “were made without good reasons to believe in the veracity thereof”. He said the board members reserved their rights.

“The board is committed to investigating any allegation that may warrant further investigation and is committed to addressing any issue that is found to require action as a result of such investigation or investigations.”

Erasmus was approached for comment, but had not responded by late on Thursday.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    jeff radebe  |  judiciary
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

De Allende's star burns bright
Boks were 'in a dark space'
Pacific island teams singled out for rough tactics?
Ireland favourites but France bullish
Traffic Alerts

Passion is the name of the game. Love is not an intellectual study, but an experience from heart level. You have the tendency more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.