Pretoria deeds office closed after electricity supply is cut

Payment dispute could spell disaster for property industry, expert warns

Ernest Mabuza Journalist
The closure of the deeds office in Pretoria after its electricity was disconnected could have a knock-on effect for the property industry, including estate agents, buyers and sellers. Stock image.
The closure of the deeds office in Pretoria after its electricity was disconnected could have a knock-on effect for the property industry, including estate agents, buyers and sellers. Stock image.
Image: 123rf.com/feverpitched

The deeds office in Pretoria was closed on Monday until further notice as it had no electricity after power was disconnected.

The deeds office — one of the busiest in SA — not being able to function has affected the registration, management and maintenance of the property registry of SA.

The closure will also worsen a backlog caused by closures of the office over the past year as a result of Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

The closure stems from the department of public works and infrastructure (DPWI), which provides accommodation for the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development (DALRRD), allegedly not paying the landlord of the building since June.

It is understood the DPWI held negotiations to resolve the impasse on Friday.

The affected building also houses the surveyor-general.

DALRRD spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said on Tuesday the dispute was between the DPWI and the City of Tshwane.

Ngcobo said he believed the issue had been resolved and electricity should be back on Tuesday. However, calls made to listed numbers for the deeds office in Pretoria did not connect.

Grant Butler, MD at evo Copestone, a home loans brokerage company, said the closure of the deeds office would have a huge knock-on effect for players in the property industry, including estate agents, buyers and sellers. For estate agents, it meant not getting paid because transfers were not being finalised timeously.

“The domino effect is disastrous for the property industry,” Butler said.

He said when the deeds offices were closed during the lockdown, the impact was immediately felt by all in the value chain.

DPWI spokesperson Thamsanqa Mchunu did not respond to questions sent on Tuesday morning.

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