Aug 2013

There is a new sheriff in town

Written by Samona Murugan
A passion for the law led Carry-Lee Seema from the Northern Cape to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a sheriff.

Seema is one of the 71 new sheriffs recently appointed by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD), to be deployed across the country. She is now a sheriff for the Koffiefontein, Jaggersfontein, Petrusburg and Fauresmith areas.

The newly appointed sheriffs also reflect the demographics of the country in respect of race and gender, says Justice Spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga. Of the 71 appointed sheriffs, 47 are African, 11 are White, seven are Indian and six are Coloured. Women represent 18 of the new appointees and men 53.

Announced by Minister of Justice, Jeff Radebe, the newly appointed sheriffs will fill vacant offices of sheriffs countrywide, raising the total number of sheriffs operating in the country to 365.

Mhaga says the role of sheriffs is critical to the functioning of the courts. “Sheriffs have an important role in the criminal justice system as they act as third party to serve court process and execute the warrants and orders of the court which are issued in terms of the Act and the regulations of the different Courts.”

Even though being a sheriff was not Seema’s first choice, it was definitely her passion, and after working as an Information Technology specialist for many years, her passion came knocking in 2010 when she moved to Bloemfontein.

“A sheriff is an impartial and independent official and is a messenger of the court. As a sheriff I constantly remind myself that the laws are necessary sanctions for the continued existence in society and I bear the responsibility to make sure they are upheld,” says Seema proudly.

Her father Archibald, who works as a sheriff in Kimberley, offered Seema a job as a receptionist. Eager to learn, she began reading all about the Supreme Court, Magistrates Court and the Sheriffs Acts. “It was my job to be well equipped with these Rules and Regulations,” she says.

The sheriffs will take up their new du- ties in October this year and are currently undergoing a mandatory induction training programme.

Through this programme, government is making significant strides to transform the Sheriffs profession in the country. The new appointments will enable the department to continue working hard to ensure that justice is accessible to all.

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