Property24 28 April 2020 Compiled by Selene Brophy
South Africa is preparing to ease out of hard lockdown, to alert level 4, as part of its preparedness and Risk Adjusted Strategy to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. As of 1 May, the Deeds Office is expected to open, as the South African government begins to bring different sectors of the economy back to work, under Level Four of the Lockdown.
Draft measures were announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, last week on Thursday 24 April - The current draft framework detailing businesses allowed to operate on the various levels from 1 to 5 can be accessed here. The final regulations will be announced on Thursday, 30 April.
The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) states, "The classification of sectors in the draft framework follows the Standard Industrial Classifications (SIC) as published by Statistics South Africa. Where an entire division is permitted, it should be assumed that all subgroupings are permitted as well. Where only certain subgroupings are specifically permitted within a division, it should be assumed that other subgroupings are not."
"In the document, when moving between levels, the green text means additions or changes from the prior level. For example, Level 4 now adds forestry and related services to Agriculture - as well as Deeds operations" - revised from level 3 in a previous draft report.
Anton Theron, Chairperson of Property committee for the Gauteng Attorneys Association, confirmed "The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) has previously made submission for the unlocking of the deeds offices and is grateful to note that the deeds offices have been moved from Level 3 to Level 4."
"The opening up of the deeds office necessitates other role players, such as municipalities, Body Corporates, Home Owners’ Associations, SARS and the Master’s Offices to function, albeit on a limited basis.
"The main problem with conveyancing matters is the lapsing of rates clearance certificates. It is recommended that the Regulations should provide for the reopening of all Local Authorities, Body Corporates and Home Owners’ Associations for the purpose of issuing rates clearance figures and certificates. Several City Councils have been moving over to electronic issuing of clearance certificates, which makes it possible for them to operate in a safe environment."
The NCCC and the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 continues to call on sectors, business organisations, trade unions and members of the public to submit comments on the schedule of services to be phased in as per the Covid-19 Risk Adjusted Strategy to be implemented with effect from 01 May 2020.