From simpler property sales to crackdown on revenge porn: Ramaphosa praised for 'progressive' bills | Fin24
 
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From simpler property sales to crackdown on revenge porn: Ramaphosa praised for 'progressive' bills

Oct 02 2019 17:35
Compiled by Lameez Omarjee

President Cyril Ramaphosa this week assented to four bills, one of which would allow property deeds to be processed electronically and another which is expected to improve the ease of doing business in the real estate industry, according to the Presidency.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Presidency shared more on the bills that were assented to. They are 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.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), in a separate statement, described the latter three bills as progressive.

The Presidency also provided a brief background on each of the bills.

Overvaal Resorts Limited Act Repeal Act

This act repeals the former Overvaal Resorts Limited Act of 1993. Under the 1993 Act, Overvaal Resorts Limited was established as a public company, intended to manage public resorts on behalf of government, the Presidency said.

Overvaal Resorts was later renamed Aventura Limited. In 2001, Cabinet took a decision to dispose 14 resorts - six unprofitable resorts were sold to different purchasers and eight were sold to Forever Resorts, the Presidency said.

"Difficulties were experienced in transferring the resorts to Forever Resorts as the new owner. These difficulties were overcome by the eventual liquidation of Aventura, rendering the legislation that had established the original Overvaal Resorts Limited obsolete," the statement read.

Electronic Deeds Registration System Act

This act makes provision for the development of an Electronic Deeds Registration System. The system will allow the "electronic processing, preparation and lodgment of deeds and documents" by conveyancers and the registrar of deeds, the Presidency said.

The electronic system is expected to improve the efficiencies in processing deeds.

Cosatu said it will hold government accountable to written commitments to the National Economic Development and Labour Council that workers in deeds registry will not lose their jobs through the transition to digital.

Property Practitioners Act of 2019

The Presidency is of the view that the property market would benefit from its new act, which repeals the 43-year-old Estate Agency Affairs Act of 1976.

The bill aims to improve the property market by making provision for the establishment of a Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority and its board.

"The act also puts in place better monitoring mechanisms, including requiring inspectors to obtain warrants to enter premises," the statement read.

Cosatu is of the view that the act will "put pressure" on the sector to transform. It also makes provision for consumer protection and codes of conduct for property practitioners.

Films and Publications Amendment Act

The bill makes provision for the establishment, composition and appointment of an enforcement committee which will regulate online distribution of films and games.

The compliance obligations of the films and publications act will not be applied 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 statement read.

The act will regulate the creation, possession, production and distribution of films, games and certain publications in order to protect children from disturbing and harmful content, the Presidency said.

Cosatu has suggested the act will provide additional protection to women, who are "increasingly abused, threatened, blackmailed and humiliated" by people distributing or threatening to distribute revenge porn. "This will now be a serious criminal offence where the perpetrators can be sent to up to four years in prison or R300 000 in fines," Cosatu's parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks said.

"Internet service providers will be held responsible if they knowingly allowed or used their services to be used to distribute child pornography," he added.

The act also addresses the dissemination of hate speech and incitement of violence, Parks said. 

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