A school can hand over school fees for collection to an attorney, provided that certain steps have been taken before this stage. Schools that do not follow the correct procedures, which include providing the relevant information to parents regarding fee exemption, are not acting in accordance with the South African Schools Act (84 of 1996) 1.
According to the act, a governing body must ascertain that a parent doesn’t apply for a fee exemption before enforcing the payment of school fees.
The school requires proof that written confirmation was sent to a parent by hand or registered post informing that parent that they have not applied for a school-fee exemption. The parents must then be given three months from the date the notice was sent to pay school fees2. The written confirmation (as contained in Section 41) has to be delivered ‘by hand or by registered post’ in order to be deemed an effective notice. As it is not always possible to deliver these notices to the parent(s) by hand, registered post becomes the only other option available.
The South African Schools Act, when reading in conjunction with the ECT Act, makes provision for the service of electronic registered notices as per the Registered Communication channels.
The same registered channels can also be used for sending a Section 129 notification in terms of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005, which is outlined in 9 Paper Notifications That Are Going Digital.
To know why you should be going digital, read 5 Common Misconceptions About Our Industry
“I have found the experience to be user-friendly and very helpful as a tool in the collection of outstanding money from debtors. The fact that all correspondence is ‘registered’ and therefore traceable is also very useful. Having proof that the debtor has received his correspondence via email as well as this correspondence being traced and printed as proof where necessary, especially by our Legal Team, assists with obtaining judgements. There are fewer handovers to our lawyers as Debtors realise that we are following the legal process and try everything to avoid being handed over and blacklisted. I would recommend this system to anybody who works with any aspect of debt collection as the postal system is not reliable and Debtors avoid collecting Registered letters.”
– School Fees Administrator, Bryanston High School