Electronic Deeds Registration Systems Bill: adoption

Rural Development and Land Reform

24 October 2018
Chairperson: Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Portfolio Committee made a few amendments to the Electronic Deeds Registration Systems Bill and adopted it.  

Concerns from the members were on how the registration of the deeds was going to affect the Permission To Occupy (PTO) certificates; the protection of communal rights; and how the process of issuing certificates would be protected from fraud. The Committee encouraged the Department to develop a system to ensure the rights of informal land holders were recorded.

Meeting report

Electronic Deeds Registration Systems Bill

The Chairperson took the Committee through the Bill, clause by clause.

Mr E Nchabeleng (ANC), on clause 2, enquired how the registration of deeds was going to affect the Permission To Occupy (PTO) certificates.

Ms Makaziwe Ntuli, Registrar of Deeds for Johannesburg, DRDLR, explained the PTOs were not currently registered, but were recorded by various institutions, municipalities, and traditional leaders. So, when they are upgraded into full ownership or when a piece of land has been transferred, that would only be the time when they would be registered in the Deeds Office for transfer of ownership and upgrading of rights. She further informed the Committee that 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). This would 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; access to deeds registration services across the country; enhanced accuracy of examination and registration; availability of information to the public; and security features including confidentiality, non-repudiation, integrity and availability.

Ms N Magadla (ANC) remarked that municipalities were a sphere of government, but when it comes to deeds registrations, they were put aside.

Mr A Madella (ANC) said the Committee needed to protect the communal rights. He suggested that the Parliamentary legal adviser and the Department’s Legal unit should discuss the matter of communal rights so that they could be protected and passed on from generation to generation. He further suggested that on line 34 the word “secure” be inserted before the word “the”.

An official from the Department noted the Bill would not develop any new items because it was there solely to establish the electronic deeds registration system.

Ms Magadla indicated the Committee wanted the PTOs to be accredited because they were dealing with people.

Ms T Mbabama (DA) commented that the recording of communal rights was a big topic. She proposed that a researcher who already was working on the recording of communal rights be invited to the Committee for an engagement because the registration of communal rights was a big thing for the Committee.

The Chairperson proposed that the Committee researcher and legal adviser including the legal adviser of the Department should inform the Committee about pieces of legislation dealing with communal rights.

Ms Mbabama wondered if the Committee has consulted widely and enough on the Bill. She said if it has conducted public hearings to its satisfaction, then everything should be fine.

The Chairperson stated advertisements were published for those who wanted to make contributions, and comments (written and verbal) were made.

The Committee agreed on the proposed amendment.

Ms Ntuli, on clause 3, explained that once the data or information was captured electronically, the individual would get a summary certificate that certified that the information captured was a true reflection of what was submitted.

Mr Madella wanted to find out how this was going to be operationalised and ensure it would be free from fraud.

Mr Jabu Hlatshwayo, Chief Director: Deeds ICT, DRDLR, explained that the Department was using a system that ensured the issued certificate had an advance electronic signature and the South African Post Office (SAPO) would be used because it was advanced in this area as it uses an encryptomatic handshake mechanism to ensure it could not be manipulated. SAPO had an accredited Trust Centre which was responsible for this process to ensure the valid holder of the certificate has got a certificate that has got the signature of the registrar or issuer.

The Committee indicated it would like to see the Department developing a system where informal land rights holders would be able to have these rights recorded.

Mr M Filtane (UDM), on clause 6, lines 24 and 30, suggested the words “where after” be changed to “whereafter”.

The Committee agreed with the amendment.

Mr Nathi Mjenxane, Parliament Legal Adviser, on clause 7, line 43, suggested to change “2017” to “2018”.

The Committee agreed with the amendment.

The Chairperson then read the Committee the amendments to the Bill, line by line.

Mr Filtane moved for the adoption of the Bill.

Mr Madella seconded the motion.

Committee Report on the Bill

The Chairperson then asked for a mover for the adoption of the Committee Report.

Mr Filtane moved for the adoption of the Bill.

Mr Madella seconded the motion.

The Chairperson concluded that the adoption of the Electronic Deeds Registration Systems Bill was welcomed because the registration of property would now be quicker and the public would be able to track the system via the conveyancers to see progress on the registration of their property.

Adoption of Minutes
17 October 2018 minutes

The Chairperson took the Members through the document page by page.

Ms Mbabama moved for the acceptance of the minutes.

Ms Magadla seconded the motion.

The minutes were adopted with minor amendments.

The Committee then deliberated on matters that arose from the minutes.

Ms Mbabama asked how the members were going to ensure Committee resolutions were carried out or implemented.

The Committee Secretary replied that resolutions taken would be recorded in the quarterly manual tracking system for monitoring and would be presented to the Committee for assessment.

Ms Mbabama wanted to understand if the quarterly monitoring would be sufficient to ensure no resolutions would fall through the cracks because the Committee was meeting four times a month.

The Chairperson stated members should indicate if the quarterly meetings should be changed and be held fortnightly or in every meeting.

Mr Nchabeleng proposed that the Department should update the Committee weekly on matters resolved or to be resolved.

Ms Mbabama suggested every minute document should have a list of unresolved matters and that each resolved item be removed from list when it has been resolved by the Committee.

Mr P Mnguni (ANC) agreed with Ms Mbabama’s idea. He stated the minutes of the Committee were lacking action plans. Actions plans, he said, should be done after the Committee’s weekly meetings.  The Committee Secretary should do a tracking system every week just like the driver of a car who always has to look at the mirrors whilst driving.

The meeting was adjourned.


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