Blog By
Marc Samons
Attorney at MNI Attorneys
Specialising In Contracts and Litigation

One of the first questions that your attorney will ask you when you consult is when your claim arose, to determine whether your claim has prescribed. If your claim has prescribed, it means that you no longer have any legal remedies available to you. Claims arising from a debt prescribe after three years and the rules of prescription are set out in the Prescription Act, 1969.

In terms of section 11 of the Prescription Act the prescription period is:

• 30 years for debts secured by mortgage bond, judgment debts, etc.;
• 15 years for certain debts owed to the State;
• 6 years for debts arising from a bill of exchange, notarial contract, etc.; and
• 3 years in other cases.

Prescription starts to run as soon as a debt becomes due, except if the debtor wilfully prevents knowledge of existence of the debt, or the creditor has no knowledge of the debt and could not acquire knowledge by exercising reasonable care.

Completion of prescription can be delayed for a year after an impediment ceases to exist. The impediments are minority, insanity, curatorship etc.

Prescription can be interrupted by acknowledgement of liability or by service of a process to claim payment.

It is therefore important to consult your attorney as soon as possible after you become aware of any claim that you may have against a third party.

Meise Nkaiseng Attorneys was awarded the PMR Africa Diamond Arrow Award for ”best law firm” (Business Sector) in the Sedibeng Region for four years in a row (2018 – 2021).