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Electronic Deeds Registration System Act Becomes Law


The Electronic Deeds Registration System Act has been signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa alongside other pieces of legislation.

The act will facilitate the development of an Electronic Deeds Registration System, known as e-DRS. The system is intended to take advantage of advances in communications technology and internet-based systems.

Electronic Deeds Registration system to streamline property transfer

The e-DRS system will enable the processing, preparation and lodgement of deeds and documents by conveyancers and the Registrar of Deeds over the internet.

The system is expected to help the government to reduce the time it takes to process deeds and furnish registered deeds and documents. The system also aims to improve transparency and allow for greater accuracy of examination and registration.

“The Electronic Deeds Registration System Act provides for the development of an Electronic Deeds Registration System – also known as e-DRS – through which South Africa will take advantage of the benefits offered by internet access, e-commerce and global computerisation in the management of security of property title,” a press release from the office of the president read.

“The new system will enable the electronic processing, preparation and lodgement of deeds and documents by conveyancers and the Registrar of Deeds.

“It will also enable the registration of large volumes of deeds effectively; improved turn-around times for providing registered deeds and documents to clients; countrywide 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.

“This will greatly enhance security of title and the acquisition and disposal of fixed assets.”

Government have also moved to provide greater oversight for the Real Estate sector with the Property Practitioners Act of 2019 which repeals the 43-year-old Estate Agency Affairs Act of 1976 (Act 112 of 1976).

The Bill responds to the dynamic needs of the real estate industry and is aimed at improving the functioning of the property market. The Bill includes measures to regulate the buying, selling and renting of land and buildings.

“Among other innovations, the Act establishes a Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority and provides for the appointment of the Board of this regulatory authority.

“The Act also puts in place better monitoring mechanisms, including requiring inspectors to obtain warrants to enter premises.”

Other legislation

An unrelated piece of legislation, the Films and Publications Amendment Act, has also become law. The act allows for the establishment of an Enforcement Committee that will, among other tasks, regulate online distribution of films and games.

“In the area of printed and audio-visual content, the Films and Publications Amendment Act provides for the establishment, composition and appointment of members of an Enforcement Committee that will, among other tasks, to regulate online distribution of films and games.

“This extends – to online distributors – the compliance obligations of the Films and Publications Act and the compliance and monitoring functions of the Film and Publication Board to online distributors.

“The Amended Act also revises the functions of compliance officers regarding entering and inspection of premises and facilities in which the business of the sale, hire or exhibition of films or games is being conducted.

“The law further regulates the classification of publications, films and games and allows for the accreditation of independent commercial online distributors by the Film and Publication Board.

“Through the Board, the law will regulate the creation, possession, production and distribution of films, games and certain publications with a view to protecting children from disturbing and harmful content.”

The President has signed the Overvaal Resorts Limited Repeal Bill of 2019; the Property Practitioners Bill of 2019; the Electronic Deeds Registration Systems Bill of 2019, and the Film and Publications Amendment Bill.

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