4. Closure of office
The department to ensure that closure of deeds offices is minimised and it is done under extreme circumstances. Various options will be undertaken, which are not limited to ensuring that decontamination is only done in affected areas and not in the whole building and also to ensure that all officials continue to work while at home.
“We will ensure that all health and safety measures as stipulated by the departments of Health and Employment and Labour are adhered to," says Minister Didiza.
Echoing Maynier’s concern that the Cape Town Deeds office was not adhering to health safety measures, Imkita Ntshanga, chairperson of the Western Cape branch of the South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP), says “Every business knows what precautionary measures are required for the safety of their employees. PPE equipment is readily available at almost every store and there is an array of options that can be adopted and implemented in the workplace. The deeds office closure severely impacts the earnings in commissions on which agents relied, new homeowners who could not gain access to their homes and indeed all participants in the economy of property sales.
“There is absolutely no practical understanding of the multiplier effects of their slow-to-stagnant decision making or the role they should be playing in the economic ecosystem," says Deon van Zyl, chairperson of the Western Cape Property Development Forum (WCPDF), who has questioned the extended processing times given to Environmental Authorisation and Waste Management Licence applications as well-chosen online systems and the use of "old and disproven technology, leaving parties wanting to engage with government at their wit’s end".
"These and many other issues will be taken up by the WCPDF in a series of “In Conversation” online engagements it will be hosting between the public and private sector over the next four months, with the first two to be addressed by Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde and National Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille," says Van Zyl.
While Minister Didiza says she appreciates the important role deeds offices play in the property sector and in the recovery of the economy post-COVID-19, the "safety of our employees will not be compromised and we will all work very hard to address backlog as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, which affected the operations of these offices".
The minister has urged all stakeholders to work together to ensure the smooth running of all deeds offices in the country.
Courtesy of Property24