In order to institute action proceedings against an individual in a court of law, the court will only issue a summons commencing the action in respect thereof, if they have jurisdiction to do so.
In terms of Section 28 of the Magistrate’s Court Act 32 1944, as amended (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”), a court shall have jurisdiction over:
(a) Any person who resides, carries on business or is employed within the district or regional division;
(b) any partnership which has business premises situated or any member whereof resides within the district or regional division;
(c) any person whatever, in respect of any proceedings incidental to any action or proceeding instituted in the court by such person himself or herself;
d) any person, whether or not he or she resides, carries on business or is employed within the district or regional division, if the cause of action arose wholly within the district; or
(e) any party to interpleader proceedings;
(f) any defendant (whether in convention or reconvention) who appears and takes no objection to the jurisdiction of the court;
(g) any person who owns immovable property within the district or regional division in actions in respect of such property or in respect of mortgage bonds thereon within the district or regional division.
However, what happens when an individual is not a resident within the Republic of South Africa? Can a court still have jurisdiction over such person or company?
Section 30bis of the Act deals with the attachment to found or confirm Jurisdiction.
“The court may order attachment of property to found or confirm jurisdiction against any person who does not reside in the Republic, in respect of an action within its jurisdiction, where the claim or the value of the matter in dispute amounts to at least R2 500, exclusive of any costs in respect of the recovery thereof, and may grant an order allowing service of any process in such action to be effected in such manner as may be stated in such order.”
Therefore, jurisdiction can be found or confirmed by a Court in terms of Section 30bis of the Act.