In order to transfer or cancel any real right that is registered in the deeds office one has to lodge the original holding deed, such as a title deed or mortgage bond. It frequently however happens that these have been lost or destroyed and then the person in whose name the deed was issued, simply signs an affidavit (signed in front of a commissioner of oath) stating that the document has been lost etc; we lodge this at the deeds office with a copy of the deed (obtained from the deeds office which has digital copies), and they then let us have a certified copy, which then replaces the original. Clean and simple.
Now it is about to change! As from 25 February 2019, the affidavit will have to be signed in front of a Notary Public. Not all conveyancers are Notaries and not all offices (especially branch offices) of law firms have Notaries on site, so this is sure to create a slow down as appointments will now have to be scheduled at different offices. Secondly, notice of the intention to apply for a certified copy must be placed in the Government Gazette, and the application must then lie for inspection at the affected deeds office for 2 weeks so that any affected person may object, before one may lodge the application at the deeds office.
Heaven alone knows why anyone would want to object. The changes do not tell us what were to happen if someone were to object or how they are to object and how it must then be dealt with! And it is not uncommon for the Government printers to forget to place an advert once you have booked and paid for it, and they only appear on Fridays – so then you may lose yet another week.
Sadly, this change is now going to cause a delay in transfers, and there will be an additional cost to publish this in the Gazette.
With respect to the authors of this new piece of legislation, this is a really unnecessary change because the existing procedure has worked perfectly well to date.
Miltons Matsemela Inc
30 January 2019