28 April 2020
South Africa is expected to move from a Level 5 to a Level 4 lockdown as of 1 May 2020. Level 4 makes provision for limited economic activity and the easing of some movement. Under Level 4, only essential government and administration services may operate.  Included in the list of Level 4 essential government services are the deeds offices.
We welcome the news that the deeds registries are likely to commence operation during Level 4, albeit at approximately 30% capacity. However, we still await clarity on the exact basis on which it will commence operation and the potential delays that will be experienced until full operational capacity has been reached and the inevitable backlogs have worked their way through the system. We are liaising with the Registrar of Deeds regularly and will provide you with an update as soon as we receive confirmation of the process going forward.
Whilst we await confirmation of the opening of the deeds office, we have engaged with Government’s Covid-19 Taskforce and various cabinet ministers on behalf of the KZN conveyancing fraternity and the property sector as a whole.  
The opening up of the deeds office will only be productive if other role players are also classified as level 4.  We have submitted that the following ought to be classified as essential services under Level 4 and therefore to be permitted to commence operation on 1 May:
1. Municipalities – issuing of rates figures and rates clearance certificates;  
2. Office of Surveyor General – approval of SG plans and diagrams; 
3. Bodies Corporate and Home Owners’ Associations – issuing of levy clearance certificates and consents;
4. SARS – provision of transfer duty receipts; 
5. Master’s Offices – operations should be extended to include issuing of letters of executorship and endorsement of powers of attorney to pass transfer;
6. Electricians,  entomologists and gas installers - carrying out surveys and repairs required to enable the issue of  electrical,  entomology and gas conformity  certificates;
7. Valuations – carrying out of property valuations by bank valuers for purposes of Transfer Duty and mortgage bonds;
8. Courier services – to enable the delivery of documents to correspondent attorneys both provincially and inter-provincially.
We will continue to engage with the relevant role-players to establish ways to safely and quickly restore economic activity in the property sector and will keep you advised of all new developments as they unfold.  
Should you wish to let us have your comments on any of the issues raised or any other issue that you believe needs to be addressed, or should you require any specific information or advice, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Cox Yeats Property Team.
Robin Westley
Tel:  031 536 8522 
Cell: 082 412 9609
Email: rwestley@coxyeats.co.za
Carol McDonald
Tel: 031 536 85315
Cell: 079 151 7979
Email: cmcdonald@coxyeats.co.za
Kim Edwards
Tel: 031 536 8519
Cell: 072 466 1111
Email: kedwards@coxyeats.co.za
Thabo Vilakazi
Tel: 031 536 8523
Cell: 079 820 7082
Email: tvilakazi@coxyeats.co.za
Tel:  031 536 8521
Cell: 082 574 3711
Tina Halstead 
Tel:  031 536 8534 
Cell: 082 454 2424                  
Email: thalstead@coxyeats.co.za
Lazelle Paola
Tel:  031 536 8550 
Cell: 082 454 2428                  
Email: lpaola@coxyeats.co.za
Nicholas Cura
Tel:  031 536 8553
Cell: 084 522 7008
Email: ncura@coxyeats.co.za
Carina Eriksson
Tel:  031 536 8577
Cell: 082 557 9528
Email: ceriksson@coxyeats.co.za