President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 23 April that the National Coronavirus Command Council determined that the national coronavirus alert level will be lowered from level 5 to level 4 with effect from Friday the 1st of May. This forms part of the government’s approach to link economic activities to 5 different coronavirus levels.
Some businesses will be allowed to resume operations under specific conditions. Every business will have to adhere to detailed health and safety protocols to protect their employees, and workplace plans will be put in place to enable disease surveillance and prevent the spread of infection. All businesses that are permitted to resume operations will be required to do so in a phased manner, first preparing the workplace for a return to operations, followed by the return of the workforce in batches of no more than one-third.
SAARDA requested the government to declare the functions of the Deeds Offices to register deeds of transfer of land and mortgage bonds from 17 April 2020 as an essential government service in terms of Section 27(2)(a)and (b) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002), with the necessary workable conditions regarding health management and interaction as deemed fit. Although the government did not declare the functions of the Deeds Offices as an essential government service, good news was received on 25 April 2020 that the Deeds Office, as part of public administration, government services and other arms of the state, is now included in the Draft Framework for Sectors as one of the services which may resume on 1 May 2020 as part of level 4.
With the Deeds Offices opened again, the current pipeline of deeds in the Deeds Office can be registered, if the rates clearance certificates for these matters are still valid. New conveyancing matters can also be lodged again at the Deeds Office from 1 May. This will bring welcome relief, not only for developers, but also for all the other stakeholders in the affordable housing sector, whose cash flow came to an abrupt halt when the Deeds Offices and other government departments had to close for the lock-down