It is perfectly legal for a school to seek assistance from a debt collection agency to collect outstanding school fees.
However, it’s important that the school has followed all the necessary steps and procedures first. Should a school not follow the correct preliminary steps, they will be in contravention of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996.
According to the South African Schools Act, it must first be established that a parent has not applied for a fee exemption before a governing body enforces the payment of school fees.
Further, the school must be able to prove that written confirmation was sent to a parent either by hand or via registered mail which informs the parent(s) that they have not applied for exemption from school fees. This also serves as a notice for the parents to pay the outstanding school fees and the parents are then given three months to settle the outstanding amount from the date of the notice.
The notice will not be considered effective if it was not delivered by hand or via registered post. However, the South African Schools Act in conjunction with the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act provide for the electronic registered notices to be sent as long as is sent via the Registered Communication channels.
In accordance with Section 41 of the South African Schools Act, only once the above-mentioned steps have been followed can a letter of demand be issued to the parents.
The letter of demand must inform the parents of the following:
Schools are legally allowed to seek assistance from a debt collection agency to collect outstanding school fees.
However, it’s important that all the correct steps are followed by the school before taking further legal action.
Able Tracers is a debt collection agency in South Africa which deals with collection of outstanding school fees. Should your school require the professional assistance of a debt collector, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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