Deeds Registries Amendment Bill, 2016 and Explanatory Memorandum

Call for comments opened 07 March 2016 Share this page:

Submissions are now closed (since 09 April 2016)

Rural Development and Land Reform

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reforms has published the draft Deeds Registries Amendment Bill, 2016 and Explanatory Memorandum, and is asking you to comment.

Comments can be emailed to Ms Antoinette Reynolds at antoinette.reynolds@drdlr.gov.za and e-deedsbill@drdlr.gov.za; or to Louis Louw at louis.louw@drdlr.gov.za by no later than Saturday, 9 April 2016.

Background
Security of title in South Africa is not explicitly guaranteed by statute, but flows from the unique deeds registration system which is based on specific responsibilities (assigned by the Deeds Registries Act, 1937 (Act No. 47 of 1937) (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act"), to both the conveyancer (who prepares and lodges deeds and documents) and the Registrar of Deeds whose registration function is calculated to afford security of title. A computer system known as the Deeds Registration System is in place for the purpose of maintaining the electronic land register. Apart from this electronic process, the preparation and lodgement by the conveyancer, as well as the processing of deeds and documents by the Registrar of Deeds, all take place manually. With the advent of the internet, e-commerce and global computerisation, there has been an increased need for electronic service delivery and a number of new challenges are now facing the Deeds Registries. For example, the inability of the present registration infrastructure and resources to accommodate the increase in volume in respect of an anticipated 20 million land parcels of the government's land reform measures; the need to link with the electronic Cadastral Information System in order to improve efficiency and accuracy of South Africa's land information management; the demand for decentralisation of services in order to effect delivery at point of need; the necessity for consolidating and rationalising diversified registration procedures created through legislation by the previous political dispensation; and the need to provide registration capability for other forms of land tenure that the government may introduce in future.To meet the above-mentioned challenges, the Office of the Chief Registrar of Deeds embarked on a project for the implementation of e-Commerce principles in order to facilitate an electronic deeds registration system ("e-DRS"). The e-DRS will provide for, amongst other things, the registration of large volumes of deeds effectively; improved turn-around times for providing registered deeds and documents to clients; provide country wide 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 Deeds Registries Amendment Bill, 2015 ("the Bill") has been drafted to amend the Act to, amongst other things, provide for an electronic deeds registration system; the electronic keeping of registers; the electronic lodgement of proof in paper and electronic form; the electronic issuing of deeds for information and judicial purposes only; the making of regulations in respect of electronic lodgement of deeds and documents and requirements relating to electronic or digital signatures; conveyancers to register as authorised users of the electronic deeds registration system; the electronic preparation of deeds and documents and the save-keeping and filing thereof by conveyancers.