How to Win in Small Claims Court in South Africa


The Small Claims Court in South Africa forms part of a robust, efficient legal system that affords South African citizens access to legal processes.

The Small Claims Court only takes cases that don’t exceed R15 000.

To win a case in Small Claims Court you need to start by making sure that you follow procedures. The first step is to make sure that your claim is legally valid. You can get advice from a lawyer just to make sure. Keep the details of your claim simple. You should also take all documents and witnesses needed in order to prove your claim.

Witnesses or a written contract or invoices to prove a transaction are essential. You can also bring an expert to testify on your behalf.

How to make a claim in the Small Claims Court:

You need to contact the opposing party either in writing or telephonically. Give the opposing party 14 days from receipt of your letter to settle your claim. You should ensure that you deliver the written demand by hand or registered post to the opposing party.

Your next step will involve going to the clerk of the court with proof that the written demand was delivered and proof upon which your claim is based, along with the full name and telephone number of the opposing party.

The clerk of the court will assist you in drawing up the summons. You’ll be informed of the date and time of the hearing of the case.

You, as the plaintiff, must deliver the original summons and return of service to the clerk of the court.

If your claim has not been satisfied, you must appear in court in person. No advocate or attorney may appear on your behalf.

Keep in mind that a lack of money is not a valid defence to a claim. The Apportionment of Damages Act (ADA) is used by the court to deal with technicalities in case of car accidents.


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