On Monday, 20 April 2020, the Cape Town Attorneys Association, issued a circular whereby they advised that various communications have been addressed to the office of the Minister of Justice and other stakeholders with regard to the conveyancing sector. We are currently awaiting the outcome of these submissions and our advice will follow as soon as any details are known.

At this time, the following is what we have been told:

    The Deeds Office computer system is programmed to reject matters after about 12 working days. It is therefore inevitable that matters currently in the system will be rejected.

Various communications are being addressed to the relevant offices in an attempt to motivate the re-opening of the Deeds Office as an essential service. Once the Deeds Office re-opens, it is expected that the Director-General will issue operational guidelines to be implemented by the various Registrars of Deeds. It is our hope that one of these will be to re-instate all matters currently in the system.

    The Transfer Duty section at SARS is operating on skeleton staff and currently turn-around times of 9 working days are observed.
    There is a skeleton staff operating at the municipality attending to rates clearances. This does not necessarily mean that any rates clearance certificates will be issued during lockdown. The City of Cape Town is currently engaging the Chief Registrar of Deeds in order to negotiate some leniency in respect of expired rates clearance certificates, in respect of matters already lodged at the Deeds Office. Measures to address the extension of expired rates clearance certificates are also being debated and more information in this regard is expected soon.
    Commencing next week, the Director General issued a directive requesting all designated staff to return to work on a skeleton and roster basis. The office will remain closed to all members of the public including practitioners. This, unfortunately, means that practitioners will most likely not be able to proceed with any matters that require the Master’s Office input either.

As soon as we receive any further updates, we will advise you.