Two weeks ago, I appealed to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform for their personal intervention, to allocate more resources to ensure continued operations at the Cape Town Deeds Office.
Today again a notice has been received advising of the Deeds Office closure until further notice.
While we do acknowledge that COVID-19 mitigation measures are having an impact on services, we urge the Ministers and their teams to come up with alternative methods of working that can be used to navigate operations during the pandemic so that services at the Cape Town Deeds Office can continue while the safety of staff are being prioritised.
It is entirely understandable that appropriate measures need to be implemented once a positive case is identified, but there seems to be no contingency measures in place to address the complete closure of this vital office during a critical time of our economic recovery and to ensure any downtime in operation is minimised.
The property sector and the Cape Town economy simply cannot afford this additional cost and delayed revenue streams. These delays, with a backlog of 14 000 deeds, which have been acknowledged by the Chief Deeds Registrar in the Cape Deeds Office alone, has an enormous negative impact on all participants in the property economy – from first time home buyers who are now forced to delay occupation and or pay occupational rent instead of making payment against their mortgage loans to all municipal property transfers which have also stalled.
While we understand the government’s reasoning behind the national lockdown, with some 44 days since the implementation of Alert Level 3, this backlog of this vital economic cog must be addressed.
STATEMENT BY THE CITY OF CAPE TOWN CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES AND ASSET MANAGEMENT, ALDERMAN JAMES VOS, Dated: 14 JULY 2020.
Issued by: City of Cape Town