Summary of Prescription Act 68 of 1969

  1. Chapter III (sections 10-16) deals with prescription of debts.
  2. Payment of a debt after it has been extinguished by prescription is regarded as payment (section 10(3)).
  3. In terms of section 11 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 "save where an Act of Parliament provides otherwise".
  4. Prescription commences 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 and could not acquire knowledge by exercising reasonable care (section 12).
  5. Completion of prescription can be delayed for a year after an impediment ceases to exist. The impediments are minority, insanity, curatorship, superior force, debtor outside Republic, marriage, etc (section 13).
  6. Prescription can be interrupted by acknowledgement of liability or by service of a process to claim payment (sections 14 and 15).
  7. The Prescription Act does not apply where it is inconsistent with an Act of Parliament which prescribes a period for the institution of action or imposes conditions on the institution of action (section 16).
  8. The court must not of its own motion take notice of prescription (section 17).
  9. The Act binds the State and does not apply to obligations governed by "Black law" (sections 19 and 20).

Provisions earmarked for repealProvisions earmarked for repealProvisions earmarked for repeal

Present position

Position proposed by Bill

 

 

 

Limitation

Prescription or limitation period

Limitation

Prescription

Section 32A Black Administration Act 38 of 1927

None

12 months in terms of section 32A

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act

Sections 343 and 344(4) of the Merchant Shipping Act 57 of 1951

In terms of section 343, one month notice before action.

 

Most claims, 2 years in terms of 344(1).

Contribution in respect of an overpaid proportion of any damages for loss of life or personal injury, 1 year after damage, loss or injury caused, in terms of 344(2).

In terms of 344(3) court may extend above periods if no reasonable opportunity to arrest ship owing to absence of ship.

In terms of 344(4) one year for other claims.

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Most claims, 2 years in terms of 344(1).

Contribution in respect of an overpaid proportion of any damages for loss of life or personal injury, 1 year in terms of 344(2).

In terms of 344(3) court may extend above periods.

Other claims in terms of Prescription Act

Section 113 Defence Act 44 of 1957

1 month notice before action

6 month or 2 years if cause arose outside Republic

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

In terms of Prescription Act

Section 96(3) Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964 (Schedule to Bill fourth item). See section 89(1) in LIM 26 page 20 for claims arising from seizure of goods.

1 month notice before action in terms of section 96(1)

1 year in terms of section 91(2)

For debts covered by Bill, notice within 6 months, but court may condone.

For other debts, 1 month notice before action in terms of 96(1).

For debts covered by Bill, Prescription Act.

For other debts, 1 year in terms of 96(2).

Limitation of Legal Proceedings (Provincial and Local Authorities) Act 94 of 1970

Notice within 90 days, but court may condone if no prejudice or not reasonable to expect notice.

90 days notice before action.

Court shall not of own motion take notice of failure.

Act binds the State.

24 months and provisions similar to section 12 of Prescription Act.

Court shall not of own motion take notice of failure.

Act binds the State.

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act

Section 25(1) National Roads Act 54 of 1971 (LIM 15 page 18) (Apparently already repealed)

Notice within 90 days.

90 days notice before action.

 

24 months

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act

Section 68(4) Mental Health Act 18 of 1973

 

 

3 months, but not counting time person lawfully detained as mentally ill or ignorant of facts

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act

Section 42A Education and Training Act 90 of 1979

Notice within 6 months.

30 days notice before action.

12 months

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act

Section 108 Education Affairs Act (House of Assembly) Act 70 of 1988

1 month notice before action

12 months after aware or could have been aware or could reasonably have been expected to become aware

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act

Section 52 Audit Arrangements Act 122 of 1992

1 calender month notice before action, but court may on good reasons grant leave

12 months after had knowledge or might reasonably have been expected to have knowledge, but court may on good reasons grant leave

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act

Sections 38 and 43 (LIM 26 page 17) and section 44 Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Disease Act 130 of 1993

Claim form must be lodged within 12 months, but claim not barred if employer knew of accident, or no seriously prejudice, or caused by oversight, absence from Republic or other reasonable cause.

Accident must be reported within 12 months

Prescription Act

Nothing if not subject to Bill; or

notice within 6 months, but court may condone if subject to Bill

Prescription Act

Section 26 Intelligence Services Act 38 of 1994

One month notice before action

2 years after becoming aware

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act

Section 39 Public Service Act Proclamation 103 of 1994

One calender month notice before action, but court may dispense where interests of justice so require

12 months after having knowledge or might reasonably have been expected to have knowledge, but court may dispense where interests of justice so require

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act

Section 57 South African Police Service Act 68 of 1995

One calender month before action, but court may dispense where interests of justice so require

12 calendar months after became aware or might be reasonably expected to have become aware, but court may dispense where interests of justice so require

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act

 

Additional provisions earmarked for repeal in committee’s proposed amendmentsAdditional provisions earmarked for repeal in committee’s proposed amendmentsAdditional provisions earmarked for repeal in committee’s proposed amendments

Present position

Position proposed by Bill

 

 

 

Limitation

Prescription or limitation period

Limitation

Prescription

Section 90 of Correctional Services Act 8 of 1959 (repealed or to be repealed by Act 111 of 1998)

1 month notice before action

6 months after action or in case of prisoner 1 year after release from prison

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act

Section 130 Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998

1 calender month notice before action, but court not precluded from dispensing with requirement where interests of justice so require

12 calender months after became aware or might be reasonably expected to become aware, but court not precluded from dispensing with requirement where interests of justice so require

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act

Provisions not earmarked for repealProvisions not earmarked for repealProvisions not earmarked for repeal

Present position

Position if Bill applies

 

 

 

Limitation

Prescription

Limitation

Prescription

Section 28 National Parks Act 57 of 1976

The limitation provisions were removed when section 28 was amended by Act 106 of 1998

Special period repealed by Act 106 of 1998

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act

Items 1 and 2 Schedule 1 to Legal Succession to the South African Transport Services Act 9 of 1989. (LIM 26 page 3)

Ordinary delictual liability still available Swanepoel v Transnet Bpk 2000 (2) SA 191 (T))

Claims in respect of livestock killed or injured by a train or damage caused by burning objects from train (proof of negligence not required) notice within 72 hours or 3 days and other conditions

Prescription Act

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone.

Prescription Act

Section 23 and 24 Road Accident Fund Act 56 of 1996 (LIM 26 page 6. Discussions with law adviser LIM 26 page 10. Fax from Road Accident Fund Commission and memo by law adviser LIM 24)

Must comply with formalities and 120 days after claim lodged before action instituted

For loss or damage arising from the driving of a motor vehicle in the case where the identity of either the driver or the owner thereof has been established, 3 years from date when cause of action arose.

Prescription does not run against minor, mental patient or person under curatorship.

Notwithstanding the above, no prescription before 5 years from date on which cause of action arose (additional 2 years if not minor, etc).

Special provisions for claims under Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Disease Act and Defence Act.

(This is similar to sections 55 to 57 of the Multilateral Vehicle Accidents Fund Act 93 of 1998 before its repeal by Act 56 of 1996.)

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act, or retain present

Section 59 of the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act 7 of 1998

3 calender months before action, but court may condone if interests of justice so require

15 calender months after became aware or may reasonably be expected to have become aware, but court may condone if interests of justice so requires

Notice within 6 months, but court may condone

Prescription Act