Is it possible to collect debt from the government?
The short answer, yes. While this process is more difficult than collecting from a non-governmental body, it is certainly possible. In order to be successful with a claim against the government, it is important to consult with a competent lawyer to ensure that there is full compliance with all relevant laws.
Which organs of state can debt be collected from?
The Institution of Legal Proceedings Against Organs of State Act provides the requirements and prescription timelines with regards to debt which is to be collected from the state. This Act relates to all “organs of state”, which means the presidency, any state department, any parastatal (SAA, Eskom), or any municipality that owes you money.
How long will it take to collect debt from the government?
It is important to be aware of the fact that it can take considerably longer than one would expect to recover money, because the Act actually affords the State more time to pay once proceedings commence against them. However, you will still get what you are owed. You are also entitled to claim interest on the amount owed, as well as contribution to legal costs.
So, if you are owed any amount from an organ of state, don’t write it off.