The Presidency on Wednesday revealed that President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed four Bills into law to allow property deeds to be processed electronically, enhance the ease of business in real estate and bring online games, films and publications into the scope of the Film and Publication Board.
Ramaphosa signed the Overvaal Resorts Limited Repeal Bill of 2019, the Property Practitioners Bill of 2019, the Electronic Deeds Registration Systems Bill of 2019, and the Film and Publications Amendment Bill.
The Overvaal Resorts Limited Repeal Bill seeks to repeal the Overvaal Resorts Limited Act of 1993, while retaining Section 3(2) of the Act to ensure that the State does not lose its rights to servitudes in those resorts mentioned as a result of the repeal. Overvaal Resorts Limited was established as a public company that would manage public resorts on behalf of government.
“Cabinet took a decision in 2001 to dispose of 14 resorts. Six unprofitable resorts were sold to other purchasers and another eight were sold to Forever Resorts. However, difficulties were encountered when the eight resorts were being transferred to Forever Resorts, which prolonged the transfer,” explained the Presidency in a statement.
This was overcome by the eventual liquidation of Aventura, rendering the legislation that had established the original Overvaal Resorts Limited obsolete.
The Property Practitioners Act of 2019 intends to replace and repeal the Estate Agency Affairs Act No 112 of 1976 and is intended to govern estate agents.
The Bill seeks to improve the functioning of the property market through regulating buying, selling and renting of land and buildings.
The Electronic Deeds Registration System Act provides for the development of an Electronic Deeds Registration System – also known as e-DRS – which will enable the electronic processing, preparation and lodgement of deeds and documents by conveyancers and the Registrar of Deeds.
“It will also enable the registration of large volumes of deeds effectively; improved turn-around times for providing registered deeds and documents to clients; countrywide access to deeds registration services; enhanced accuracy of examination and registration; availability of information to the public; and security features including confidentiality, non-repudiation, integrity and availability,” the Presidency said.
The new system will also increase security of title and the acquisition and disposal of fixed assets.
The Act also establishes a Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority and provides for the appointment of the board of this regulatory authority and puts in place better monitoring mechanisms, including requiring inspectors to obtain warrants to enter premises.
Meanwhile, the Films and Publications Amendment Act will allow for the establishment, composition and appointment of members of an Enforcement Committee to regulate the online distribution of films and games.
“This extends – to online distributors – the compliance obligations of the Films and Publications Act and the compliance and monitoring functions of the Film and Publication Board to online distributors.”
The Amended Act also revises the functions of compliance officers regarding entering and inspection of premises and facilities in which the business of the sale, hire or exhibition of films or games is being conducted.
The classification of publications, films and games will be regulated and independent commercial online distributors will be accredited by the Film and Publication Board.
Through the board, the law will regulate the creation, possession, production and distribution of films, games and certain publications with a view to protecting children from disturbing and harmful content.