Gert is a specialist Conveyancer based at our Illovo office. He worked at the Pretoria Deeds Office from 1985 until 1989 and after becoming a Senior Examiner left to qualify as an Attorney and Conveyancer in 1992. As manager of our Gauteng Development Law Unit Gert focuses on the establishment of townships and all the conveyancing work required to initiate and complete developments, whether it may be an upmarket sectional title, cluster or housing development. He enjoys finding practical solutions to complicated conveyancing problems. Gert serves on the committee of the South African Affordable Residential Developers Association (SAARDA), a body representing the interests of developers and other stakeholders in the affordable housing development sector which necessitates regular collaboration with government and municipal officials.

Thoughts on township establishment May 2021: The transfer of a serviced erf

The transfer of a serviced erf by the township owner directly from the township title is legal.

In the normal course of the business of a developer in the affordable housing market, the product on sale is a serviced erf in an approved township which is linked to a building package to construct a house on that erf. A contractor can also obtain the right from a township owner to market such a serviced erf, linked to a building package to construct a house for that purchaser on that stand.

The township owner then gives transfer of the serviced erf from the township title directly to the purchaser in terms of section 43(5)(a) of the Deeds Registries Act, 1937 (No 47 of 1937), where it provides that the transfer of a whole erf from the township title is possible.

A municipality cannot insist on the registration of a Certificate of Registered Title for a new erf before accepting building plans for examination and approval.

Developers should not be forced by municipalities to create a separate title deed for a new erf still held under the township title, either by registering a Certificate of Registered Title for the specific erf or one Certificate of Registered Title for the identified batch of erven for which building plans must be submitted for approval.

This is because such erf is already a registered erf, held by the township owner, by virtue of the township title and confirmed as such on the Deeds Office report for that erf. The registration of a Certificate of Registered Title is merely the creation of a different title deed for the same erf, still held by the same registered owner, just now in the form of a Certificate of Registered Title instead of the township title, at additional costs and extra time added to the development process.

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