WILL SERVITUDES SURVIVE MERGER WHEN THE DOMINANT AND SERVIENT LANDS ARE ACQUIRED BY ONE PERSON AND LATER TRANSFERRED TO NEW OWNERS?
Turnbury House Properties (Pty) Ltd v Wallin and Another (18924/2020)  ZAWCHC 95 (18 May 2022)
A praedial (land) servitude is a specific type of strong right that imposes a burden upon one person’s property, by restricting the rights and powers of the owner in favour of the owner of another property. Where the same owner gets to own both properties, merger occurs and the servitudes are said to terminate. Do they revive if the owner later sells the two properties to two new owners? The Court here answered that yes, they can be revived in certain circumstances. The Court also affirmed that, depending on context, a borehole servitude can survive destruction of the borehole. The judgment is very informative and a good read for immovable property owners either enjoying servitude rights, or carrying the burden thereof.
BY-LAW REQUIRING SPLUMA CERTIFICATE FOR A TRANSFER
Govan Mbeki Local Municipality and Another v Glencore Operations South Africa (Pty) Ltd and Others (334/2021;338/2021)  ZASCA 93 (17 June 2022)
Recently there were talks that municipalities across the country were in the process of making it a requirement for transfer, that the owner must obtain a SPLUMA certificate to confirm that all applicable planning and land use regulations were complied with. The threat of this additional burden on land owners’ rights to dispose of their property raised valid concerns. This judgment deals with a successful challenge to the by-laws issued by two municipalities requiring such certificates and prohibiting the Registrar of Deeds of passing transfer if this was not complied with. The Court found that in doing so, the municipalities overstepped their constitutionally-delineated powers, and that the provisions were invalid. (Note that a SPLUMA certificate remains a requirement for transfers in new developments, in accordance with section 53 of the Act.)