In order to initiate divorce proceedings, a summons must be served personally on the defendant by the sheriff of the Court.

Substituted service may be brought in cases where the defendant’s exact whereabouts are unknown but it is believed that the defendant is within the Republic of South Africa.

The plaintiff must show in an affidavit to the Court all steps that were taken to determine the defendant’s whereabouts and request that an alternative method of service be ordered by the Court so that the summons be brought to the attention of the defendant.

If a proper case is made, the Court may order any manner of service it deems appropriate such as publication in a newspaper, service on family members or friends, service by fax or e-mail. This method of service will depend on the facts of the case.

The Court will also determine the time period within which notice of intention to defend must be given.


by: Nthabiseng Sefudi


Rosa van Niekerk Attorneys

Tel: 010 110 9500

Email: litigation2@rvnattorneys.com