Title: Reflections on recent developments regarding wage garnishment in South Africa

Authors: Hermie Coetzee; Charlotte Van Sittert

Addresses: Department of Mercantile Law, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, Law Building 3-33, Cnr Lynnwood and Roper Streets, Hatfield, Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield, 0028, South Africa ' Department of Procedural Law, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, Law Clinic Building B 07, 1704 South Street, Hatfield, Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield, 0028, South Africa

Abstract: A wage garnishment order is an effective and widely used method to collect judgment debts where the debtor is employed in the formal sector. However, procedures whereby the orders are obtained should be carefully drafted to curb possible abuses. In South Africa, the circumstances under which such orders could be obtained led to abuse of the process in practice, with sometimes tragic consequences. Fortunately, the South African Apex Court confirmed the unconstitutionality of the aspects of the procedure that led to abuse of the process. Also, the Department of Justice and Correctional Services introduced an act, which mainly seeks to amend the procedure to address abuses in the debt recovery system. This contribution reflects on these developments against the backdrop of the present socioeconomic circumstances in South Africa. Some comparative research was done which is also considered. The ultimate aim of the contribution is to determine whether South Africa has adequately transformed its wage garnishment landscape to curb abuse.

Keywords: emoluments attachment orders; garnishee orders; wage garnishment.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPL.2018.097326

International Journal of Private Law, 2018 Vol.9 No.1/2, pp.107 - 123

Received: 09 May 2017
Accepted: 04 Sep 2017

Published online: 10 Jan 2019 *

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