Pretoria – The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development says it is continuing to make significant progress in transforming the sheriffs’ profession.
Thirty-two sheriffs have been appointed to fill vacant posts countrywide, which the department also hopes will contribute to both access to justice and improved service delivery in the justice system.
The appointed sheriffs reflect the demographics of the country in respect of race and gender, as envisaged in the Constitution. Of the 32 sheriffs, 19 are African (59%), eight are white (25%), four are coloured (13%) and one is Indian (3%).
A considerate number of women is increasingly being appointed with the intention to close the gender gap. Women represent 41% of the new appointees and men 59%.
Speaking at the Induction Training Programme in Pretoria on Monday, Justice and Constitutional Development Deputy Minister John Jeffery said while there is still a long way to go, these appointments have gone a substantial way to making the sheriffs’ profession more representative in line with the transformative vision and goals of the Constitution.
The department, Deputy Minister Jeffery said, is determined to close the gender gap in the profession and further enhance the economic empowerment of women.
“Women now represent 83 (27%) of the total sheriffs and men 221 (73%). I’m pleased that of the 13 women that have been appointed, five have been appointed to medium and large sheriff offices.”
The total number of permanent sheriffs currently operating in the country is 304. Of these, 124 are African (41%), 121 are white (40%), 22 are Indian (7%) and 37 are coloured (12%). This has resulted in a 1% increase of black persons (Africans, Indians and coloureds) represented in the profession.
Sheriffs are an important interface between the public and the justice system, as they interact with and influence the work of lawyers, court officials, police, judgment creditors and debtors.
“The department has committed itself to assist in the consistent improvement of and enhanced service delivery by the sheriffs’ profession. We continue to work hard in order to ensure that justice is accessible to all,” Deputy Minister Jeffery said.