What is a demand?
– A demand is “a request for payment, or a request for the performance of a legal obligation” [See Pete, S et al Civil Procedure A Practical Guide 3rd Edition (Oxford University Press Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd 2017) 161].
– A demand is made before legal proceedings commence; it is an attempt to ensure compliance without costs of formal litigation.
– A demand may be made by the person themselves (whom performance is owed to) or his legal representative.
– In the event that the demand is not complied with, one can then take reasonable legal steps to commence with litigation for demand to be enforced.
– Demand can either be made oral or in writing (Letter of Demand).
What must the demand contain?
– A demand must contain sufficient details to inform the recipient (defendant – one who owes performance) of the whole cause of action.
– Elements of the alleged claim must be covered, ie: if the claim is a delictual one, all four elements of delict must be covered.
– If demand is made in writing, the letter must contain a paragraph in which the actual demand for payment or performance is made, the paragraph must also indicate the time period within which payment or performance must occur, and the consequences of not complying with the demand, ie: litigation.