Following the landmark Constitutional Court judgement which found that current homeowners were not liable for historical debt, South African municipalities will now have to actively step-in and make sure current owners are up to date with payments before they sell.
This is according to the deputy head of eThekwini municipality’s legal unit, Malusi Mhlongo, who said that the municipality would be making amendments to its credit and debt collection policies in line with the new judgement, reports The Mercury.
These changes would ensure that conveyancers acknowledged debt each time they transferred a property that had municipal debt owing, he said.
“We still have the right to interdict the transfer before it is affected if we are owed. In the past we were not interdicting the transfers because we always knew we had the security of property. Now that we no longer have the security of property we are going to interdict the transfers,” he said.
When asked about how the ruling would affect municipal financing, Mhlongo said that there would be no apparent loss, but that the city would no longer be able to have the security of the property on the debt.
The decision is likely to be met with further legal questions, legal analysts said, as it was unlikely that any conveyancer would be willing to sign an acknowledgement of debt.