The Cape Town Attorneys Association, referring to a note from the Chief Registrar of Deeds, confirmed that various communications have been addressed to the office of the Minister of Justice, motivating the re-opening of the Deeds Office as an essential service. We are currently awaiting the outcome of these submissions and our advices will follow as soon as positive details are known.
In the meantime, they confirmed that:
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 shall be rejected, subject to anticipated interim assistance measures to be implemented. 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.
The Transfer Duty section is operating on skeleton staff and currently turn-around times of 9 working days are observed.
Skeleton staff is attending to rates clearances. 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.
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