Agricultural Debt Management Bill; Deeds Registries Amendment Bill: deliberations

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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS
03 September 2002
AGRICULTURAL DEBT MANAGEMENT BILL AND THE DEEDS REGISTRIES AMENDMENT BILL: DELIBERATIONS

Chairperson: Mr N.H. Masithela

Documents handed out:
Agricultural Debt Amendment Bill & Deeds Registries Amendment Bill
ADMA Explanatory Memorandum
Deeds Registries Act 47 of 1937
Deeds Registries Amendment Bill 2002
(Documents awaited)

SUMMARY:
The Committee discussed reviewing the amendments to the Agricultural Debt Amendment Act and the Deeds Registries Amendment Act. The Committee agreed that they would not further discuss the amendments until the Bills had been formally referred to the Committee for discussion. The Chairperson requested the Deeds office to create a database of racial groupings who benefited from the land redistribution programme. He said it was unfortunate that the Committee did not have the number of previously disadvantaged people who benefited from the land reform programme.

Agricultural Debt Management Act (amendments)
Mr Marais from the Department requested that the Committee approve the proposed amendments to section 9 of the Bill.
Section 9 - Currently read as follows:

Tendering of documents for registration and exemptions

9. (1) An officer in the department may, despite the provisions of any other Act, tender a mortgage bond, agreement, consent, authorisation or other document at any deeds registry for registration or filing, and the registrar must on receipt thereof, cause the necessary endorsements to be made in his or her records despite any requirement of the Deeds Registries Act, 1937 (Act No. 47 of 1937).

Section 9 - Proposed Amendment

Registration and filing of documents and exemptions

9. (1) Despite the provisions of any other Act, a mortgage bond, agreement, consent, authorisation or other document tendered for the purpose of this Act at any deeds registry for registration or filing, may be prepared, executed and attested by an officer of the department.

Questions and discussion
Mr S. Farrow (DP) asked whether the amendments override the previous responsibilities of the Registrar of Deeds.

Mr Venter from the Department said they didn't want the registrar to have extra powers. Instead, they wanted the Department to be involved in the process.

The Chairperson asked whether that would cause delays to the consumer.

An official from the Department said that this did not provide for extra time. Instead, they wanted to give the Department responsibility.

The Chairperson asked both the Departments of Land Affairs and Agriculture to work together, as this issue could have been picked up earlier on before the bill came to the Committee.

Deeds Registries Amendment Act, 2002
Amendment of Section 17 of Act 47 of 1937

1. Section 17 of the Deeds Registries Act, 1937 (Act No. 47 of 1937) (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), is hereby amended by the substitution for paragraph (b) of subsection 4 thereof of the following paragraph:

"(b) is registered in the name of a person who on the date of the registration was married out of community of property or whose marriage was on that date governed by the law of another country or whose marriage was on that date governed by the provisions of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, 1998, and whose marriage was subsequently dissolved by death or divorce; or"

Amendment of section 102 of Act 47 of 1937

2. Section 102 of the Deeds Registries Act, 1937 (Act No. 47 of 1937) (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), is hereby amended by the insertion, after the definition of "owner", of the following definition:

" 'Person' includes a trust"

Short title

3. This Act shall be called the Deeds Registries Amendment Act, 2002

Questions and Discussion
Mr D. Maluleke (DP) asked in terms of customary union, what would happen if a man married whilst he had property? Would it automatically mean that the man's property would fall in the category of "in community of property".

The Department responded that it was up to the man whether to sign a contract of "in community of property" or "out of community of property".

Mr R. Schoeman (ANC) asked if there was any consultation regarding this Act.

The Department said there was a considerable amount of consultation including some legal institutions and the public.

Mr Farrow asked what happened if a man had more than one customary marriage.

The Department said again that a contract had to be entered into whereby the properties would be either included or excluded in the second or third marriage. If the second or third wife played her cards well, she could be able to argue for those properties to be included in her marriage.

The Chairperson asked how the Deeds office could provide information on land redistribution. He said it was important to know the racial groupings of the people who got land. He said he was requesting this because almost all the people he met at the WSSD claimed not to have benefited from the land redistribution programme, something he believed was not true. However, he did not have the numbers to substantiate his arguments, hence he was making this request to the Department. He said this would also help the Department to know how far have they gone in terms of land redistribution in this country.

An official from the Department said they would discuss the matter with the Registrar of Deeds. They would look at what race the people who benefited from the land redistribution programme belonged.

Mr Maluleke disagreed, arguing that this would take South Africa back to the years of apartheid.

Mr B. Radebe (ANC) said the issue would be good times of transformation, to see how far the Department had gone in terms of addressing the imbalances of the past. He said to move away from the past did not necessarily mean we should forget what happened.

Mr Schoeman (ANC) said what the Chairperson was asking was a reasonable request. He added that this would help find how far the Department had gone in terms of redistribution.

Mr Farrow referred the Committee to a media briefing by the Minister two weeks ago, where she mentioned that a programme of auditing land reform beneficiaries was being prepared. He suggested the issue of looking at who owns what in terms of land should be an internal matter in the Deeds Office. He acknowledged that this was a sensitive issue.

Ms B. Ntuli (ANC) said the Chairperson's idea should be carried out. Several institutions require that a person should identify him/herself in terms of race and that was not racism. She said this should not be debated.

The Chairperson concluded by saying the Department should look at that issue, and he was happy that the Department representatives had agreed to discuss the issue with the Registrar of Deeds. Concerning the two Acts, the Chairperson said the Committee will discuss the amendments when the Bills were published in the Government Gazette and formally referred to the Committee.

The meeting was adjourned

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