Rehabilitation is a legal process whereby you apply to the High Court of South Africa to be relieved from your insolvent status. The effect is that you will regain the legal status you had before the sequestration. Your credit record will show that you have been rehabilitated and are no longer under sequestration. Unless you wait out the ten years of sequestration, whereafter rehabilitation is automatic without a court order, you will need the help of insolvency lawyers to bring the application for rehabilitation to court.


As our insolvency lawyers will explain to you, rehabilitation brings an end to the effects of sequestration. All debts that were due or that have occurred before the sequestration and did not come about as the result of fraud on your side, are written off. Every limitation brought about by the sequestration is lifted. You can once again enter into credit agreements without the permission of the estate trustee. You no longer have to disclose that you are insolvent, since you are now rehabilitated. However, as our insolvency lawyers will point out, if asked on a credit application whether you have been declared insolvent in the past, you must answer truthfully. You will once again be able to fulfil the role of a company director and can again hold certain financial or government positions that were precluded. You will be in full control of your financial affairs.


As mentioned, it is a legal process. A court application must be brought and certain legal requirements must be met. As such, you need insolvency lawyers to handle the application process, since the application is made to the High Court of South Africa.

When You Qualify

The Insolvency Act provides for eight conditions that qualify you for rehabilitation. Note that each one has its own timeframe. We strongly recommend speaking to our insolvency lawyers about these circumstances and periods to help you determine whether you qualify. Issues such as whether you have previously been sequestrated, whether all claims against the estate have been proven, whether you are able to prove that it will be in the best interest of South Africa for you to rehabilitate, whether you have committed an act of fraud during sequestration, and whether there are no other claims against the estate must all be considered to determine whether you qualify for rehabilitation. Specific conditions apply to each of the circumstances. The timing is also important. In most instances, you will be able to apply for rehabilitation four years after the sequestration, though various circumstances make it possible to do so earlier, provided the requirements are met.

What to Do Next

You may already qualify for rehabilitation and may not even know it. It is better to become rehabilitated as soon as possible. The first step is to make an appointment with our insolvency lawyers who will explain the costs, requirements, and timeframe. They will also help to determine whether you qualify.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Call on our attorneys for legal advice, rather than relying on the information herein to make any decisions. The information is relevant to the date of publishing – October 2018.