Melanie Coetzee completed here BPROC and LLB degrees at the University of Port Elizabeth before embarking on a paralegal career in the UK for a few years. Upon her return to SA, she articled at the PE-based firm Rushmere and Noah where she also passed her Conveyancing and Notarial exams and was admitted in 2001. Melanie joined the STBB Hout Bay practice, was appointed a Director at the firm in 2010, and has since worked in the Table View office as manager before returning to the Cape Town branch where she heads the Non-Resident and exchange control department as well as the firms’ Bond Cancellation department. In addition, she is the firm’s COVID-19 Compliance Officer and the firm’s FICAA reporting officer. Melanie also trains the real estate industry extensively on various complicated topics which now also includes POPI.

Newsflash | LEVEL 3 NEWS

The new regulations relating to Level 3 arrangements have been published. Note that these new regulations do not repeal the 29 April 2020 regulations and these must therefore be read together to get the full picture.

As from 1 June 2020, the entire country will move into Alert Level 3 except for a few excluded industries and sectors (see here). In addition, the COVID-19 METRO AND DISTRICT HOTSPOTS were identified.

With regards to the real estate industry, it is finally now allowed to return to their offices and to start working actively. (The requirement remains that only the minimum necessary staff should go to the office.) Except for the estate agency requiring the CIPC Certificate, no other permits are required by agents for general travel from the home to the office, or from the office to a client’s property as long as such travel does not cross provinces, metropolitan areas, districts and hotspots in which case a travel permit will be required to be issued by the head of the estate agency.

All Occupational Health and Safety provisions remain in force similarly to the ones during Lockdown Level 5 and Alert Level 4. The main obligations of estate agencies, estate agents and any agency employees in the performance of their real estate duties and contact with clients are:

  1. That a COVID-19 Policy document, setting out the procedures and exposure assessment processes, must be implemented before agency operations commence. See our draft document here, which you can adapt for your use;
  2. That all required Personal Protection Equipment must be acquired and used which still includes the face mask and gloves in certain instances;
  3. That agent and client screening assessments must be implemented throughout the course of Alert Level 3 operations and this may include the need to have questionnaires completed and/or temperatures taken;
  4. That the need to observe the required distance between persons is still required as well as washing and sanitizing hands regularly.

In order to avoid the various published hotspots being rendered subject to travel and operational restrictions, or even a drop in an Alert Level, every attempt should be made to adhere to the exposure avoidance measures at all times. Real Estate has waited long enough to start working actively again and for this to continue, especially in the hotspots, extreme care should be taken to avoid unnecessary exposure to the virus.