South Africa: Deeds Office Chaos Causes Gridlock in Cape Town Property Transfers

analysis

Backlog chaos continues to cloud Cape Town's Deeds Office, which opened again on Monday - but for how long?

The Cape Town Deeds Office was closed for four working days from last Tuesday, 28 July, apparently for Covid-19 decontamination - this follows on highly intermittent operations since it reopened under lockdown Level 3 in May.

At present, the deeds office's turnaround time from date of lodgement to when files are available for registration is two months. The bottleneck is causing the city's property sector to gridlock as transactions grind to a halt, with a backlog running into tens of thousands of deeds.

According to the deeds office's website, turnaround ought to be seven working days.

Industry insiders blame poor management, saying deeds office management and staff are using Covid-19 as an excuse to not go to work.

Meanwhile, property sector representatives have lodged an urgent application at the Western Cape High Court to see business restored and the backlog addressed.

This week, at 90 Plein Street, adjacent to Parliament, conveyance attorneys queued in the rain for hours, waiting to enter the deeds office building. Inside, corridors were crammed with more conveyance attorneys wearing masks, as they queued to access different...

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