Lockdown: More staff for deeds office in Cape Town next week as backlog piles up

Themba Hadebe
  • The Covid-19 crisis has led to significantly reduced numbers of property deeds being registered because of the number of staff members allowed in the office.
  • Nehawu said of the 11 977 deeds lodged, only 17% were registered during the lockdown.
  • The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development said more staff was expected to return to work next week.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) said since Level 4 lockdown only 30% of the workforce was supposed to be in the office and this has caused delays in how many deeds can be registered.

The deeds office in Cape Town worked out a system where 30% of the staff would be in the office and the rest would do a "hybrid" of going to the office to fetch documents, working on them at home, and then return them. 

However, Nehawu's Baxolise Mali said that was an arrangement reached with management for Level 4, but no arrangement or amendment had been agreed to for Level 3 lockdown which came into effect on 1 June. 

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He added as it was, the building at 90 Plein Street in Cape Town had problems with its elevators, and until recently only one elevator worked.

Mali said this meant it would "take forever" for staff to get to their offices if they went back to their full numbers and if they only travelled two people at a time in the elevator.

He added the public expected them all to be working at full tilt, but without clarity on how many people could safely be in the office, they were not able to provide a full service. 

Mali said the office was closed once after a worker was in contact with a family member who had contracted Covid-19, adding the office was disinfected and there was a 24-hour wait until staff returned. 

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said more employees were expected to return next week.

"We have accepted all lodgements that we have received. And we have registered 17% of all the lodgements we have received." 

Ngcobo added the deeds office was working with one third of its usual staff numbers.

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