Dear SirMadamI entered into a settlement...

Asked by 0748079066 on 28-10-2022 12:07:35
Question posted in the General Law category relating to Gauteng

Dear Sir/Madam

I entered into a settlement agreement with the plaintiff some years ago 21 Feb 2020, this was made a court order.  I did not admit to any guilt, I just could no longer take the financial and emotional stress of the case which dragged on for over 3 years.   We agreed that I would pay an amount of R4000 monthly. 

Our financial status changed and our income was drastically reduced.  I explained this to them and started paying R2000 per month.  They have now sent me a Unopposed Motion (Rule 41(4) Application) - Interloctury saying that the entire amount of R350 thousand is payable immediately.

We cannot afford legal assistance.  We don’t own any property of vehicles.  Our expenses are all without luxuries.

What will happen to me from here?  Will I go to jail if I cannot pay?

I have replied to their lawyer with the following.

Good morning Megan,

Trust you are well.

I would just like to confirm with you.  Payments for Plumberama (R2000) were made every month on the 26th or 27th or 1st.  We have not skipped a month.  This is the very first payment I make as soon as we have received our salary. Our next pmt will be made by the 1st as soon as the money reflects in our account.

Please take note that we are unable to obtain legal representation.  I have tried reading through the document but I am unsure of the meaning and terms used.

As you are aware, my husband's salary has dropped drastically, we are under voluntary sequestration and we are just-just getting by every month.

We do not own any property or anything of value. We cannot apply for loans of finance.  Our flat is rented and our monthly expenses are Plumberama, School for my 7 year old, Rent, Petrol and then we are left with +/- R1000 for groceries.

We have adapted our living situation in order for us to be able to pay everything.  There is nothing more we can do.  My husband is trying his best to find work that will improve our finances and we hope to find something in 2023.

Would it help if I sent you bank statements and accounts for every month paid?

It is truly not a matter of we cannot afford any more, there just is not any more to pay.

Regards

Jvonne Botha

074 807 9066

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 30-10-2022 20:01:39

Hi there Jvonne,

I see that you haven't made a payment for the question, but I'm going to assist you a little. If you want to ask a follow-up question, please make the required payment, even if it is R150 or R200.

Signing a settlement agreement doesn't necessarily mean that you admit guilt. It just means that you've reached a mutual agreement on how the dispute will be settled. 

No, you won't go to jail for this. Not now. Not ever. This is a civil dispute; not a criminal dispute.

The Rule 41(4) application is to have the settlement agreement made an order of court. I don't know on what basis you would be able to oppose the application, because you did sign the settlement agreement. 

Obviously your settlement agreement contains a provision saying that if you miss a payment then the full amount becomes due and owing. 

The worst thing that could happen is that they bring you to a financial enquiry at the magistrates court and the magistrate will then look at your finances and make an order as to what you should be paying each month. It could be as low as R50 per month, but it will take into account your financial position.  This is called a section 65 enquiry. 

They could also apply to attach some of your husband's salary; but the magistrate would first need to decide what amount would be fair. Again, it could be as little as R50 per month. 

Att. Patrick 

Please remember this is a dialog if you have follow-up questions please make the required deposit, then use the REPLY button and ask your further question. I would like to continue assisting you, but I need to concentrate on people who make deposits for their questions - they get serviced first!

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