Credit lawyer: Don’t take Godsell’s lead

Lawyer Stephen Logan says it wouldn’t be wise to follow Godsell’s approach to garnishee orders.

FILE: Retired South African businessman Bobby Godsell. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - A prominent credit lawyer has warned business owners to avoid taking Business Leadership South Africa chairperson Bobby Godsell's approach to garnishee orders.

Godsell told Sake24 he would refuse to enforce garnishee orders, technically known as emolument attachment orders, against employees.

He argued loan repayments should be enforced by those who issue them in the first place, rather than employers who had nothing to do with the agreements.

"I would have said sorry Capitec or whoever, I'm not your debt collector - you granted that debt, go and collect it yourself," Godsell said.

Garnishee orders are issued by a court on behalf of companies struggling to collect debt.

The legally binding orders force employers to deduct payments from salaries to repay debt.

It's believed the orders played a role in the unrest and subsequent tragedy in Marikana last year.

Godsell believes these are unethical and should be abolished, saying he'd refuse to comply.

Credit lawyer Stephen Logan says doing so wouldn't be wise and warned employers not to be as brash.

"He [Godsell] wouldn't be able to just refuse to deduct the money."

Logan says that would be illegal.

He says approaching the attorneys who issued the order to say the employee can't afford the deduction would be a better option.

"If you can't afford the amount of the garnishee order, you are entitled to have the amount reduced by the court. I think that would be the safer bet."

Logan adds the manager would not likely go to jail for refusing to honour the order, but would possibly face having business assets seized by the sheriff of the court.

However, if a garnishee order is made by a court in a different city than where it is issued to, it would in fact be illegal.