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A brief overview of the Electronic Deeds Registration System Act

We often meet with the words or more accurately the phrase “soon robots will take over”. Steadily and surely this phrase becomes more and more apparent through the development of time, technology and mankind.

The Electronic Deeds Registration System Bill was assented to on 2 October 2019 and shall come into operation in due course as the Electronic Deeds Registration Act 19 of 2019 “the Act”.

The Act is intended to replace the current manual deeds registration processes that has been practiced over the past decades.

All documents envisaged in the Deeds Registries Act 47 of 1937 (Deeds Registries Act), Sectional Scheme Management Act 8 of 2011 (Sectional Scheme Management Act) and the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986 (Sectional Titles Act) will be subjected to the Act and its transition towards innovative communications and paperless technology.

The purpose of the Act is to promote and facilitate a conveyancing computer system known as the Electronic Deeds Registration System (e-DRS). The implementation of the e-DRS system shall aid conveyancers in the processing, preparation, lodgement and registration of deeds and documents via the internet.

The e-DRS system is expected to:

  • Accommodate lodgements and registrations in large capacities
  • Reduce turn-around times for the processing of deeds
  • Improve accuracy during the examination process
  • Allow transparency
  • Ensure that deeds registration services are easily accessible

A significant variation imposed in terms of section 3 of the Act is that, any deed or document entering the system shall thereafter be deemed to be the only original and valid record thereof. In light of the aforesaid, the costly and lengthy applications for lost or replacement deeds shall be done away with.

In terms of section 4 of the Act, the role and obligations of Conveyancers and Notary Publics shall persist as envisaged in the Deeds Registries Act, Sectional Scheme Management Act and Sectional Titles Act.

Section 2 and 5 of the Act pertains to the discretion of the Chief Registrar and Minister of Rural Development respectively. It affords them authorities such as to issue directives and regulations pertaining to the functional requirements, security measures, maintenance, procedures for deeds lodgement and registration, record storing and much more, provided that same is on the recommendation of the Regulation Board.

Velile Tinto Cape – Attorneys Cape Town

In conclusion, the Act is ambiguous on certain aspects such as who shall be authorised to administer it and how. Furthermore, in terms of the system’s security guarantee to guard against cybercrime. The scope and ambit of the Act is to promote conveyancing efficiency in line with the evolution of computerisation technology as well as supply and demand. 

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