Key changes proposed for complexes and sectional titles in South Africa

 ·10 Mar 2021

Parliament’s portfolio committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has called for written comment on the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill.

The bill introduces a number of additional regulations which largely relate to the management and development of schemes including extensions and common property – with tenants and trustees less likely to be impacted.

Some of the key proposed changes include:

  • Make it a requirement for developers to have a meeting with every lessee of a building in instances where part of such building is to be wholly or partially let for residential purposes, to answer questions put to the developer by the agents of the lessees;
  • Provide that a certificate issued by an architect or a land surveyor must also comply with section 26(2) of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (where land is only allowed to be used for the permitted purposes);
  • Provide for the amendment of sectional plans in respect of exclusive use areas;
  • Provide for a developer to submit a plan for subdivision or consolidation to the surveyor-general for approval to subdivide, consolidate and to extend a section.

The bill also introduces a number of administrative requirements around issues such as sub-divisions and extension plans.

Land Court Bill 

Government is also working on a number of other proposed property changes for the country, including the Land Court Bill which was approved by president Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet at the start of March.

The bill will allow for the establishment of a specialist Land Court as well as a Land Court of Appeal.

It is specifically aimed at accelerating the country’s land reform programme as well as resolving such as backlogs and disputes around land claims.

“The bill seeks to address the systemic hurdles that make it difficult for land claimants to obtain land restitution,” said Justice and Correctional Services minister Ronald Lamola in an explanatory statement.

“For instance, the bill allows for hearsay evidence for most families, who have to rely on oral history and the existence of elders with knowledge of description, location, and extent of land which their descendants previously occupied.”

Lamola said that bill also allows for expert evidence regarding historical and anthropological facts relevant to any particular land claim.

“This bill gives effect to the mandate of the sixth administration, namely, to ensure our approach to land reform is based on three elements – increased security of tenure, land restitution and land redistribution.

“This bill is a concrete intervention to improve the functioning of all three elements of land reform.

“It creates a policy framework to ensure that land reform is guided by sound legal and economic principles and contributes to the country’s investment objectives and job creation initiatives,” he said.

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