DEVELOPMENT: Cape Town Revamps Clearance Systems
Recent Western Cape Business News
The national backlog in obtaining rates clearance certificates continues to pose substantial problems for property buyers, sellers, attorneys and estate agents alike, with the current surfeit of 45 000 or so certificates likely to be further hindered by the upcoming festive period.
The City of Cape Town has now taken measures to address this backlog with the implementation of a brand new Integrated Spatial Information System (ISIS), designed to maximise efficiency and further expedite the issuing of clearance certificates.
Since moving to automated processing systems 6 years ago, Cape Town’s city council has already drastically reduced transaction turnaround times, lessening the waiting period for rates clearance certificates to just 2 to 3 days after payment – as opposed to a standard processing time of 60 to 90 days in other major Metros .
However, the city is now looking to follow the example of first-world countries such as Canada, who have managed to reduce the entire duration of property transactions to just 24-48 hours as a result of well-managed, automated systems.
“Not only will the ISIS system help us to further reduce the issuing times of rates clearance certificates, but it will also give us greater control of overall output and work flow,” explains Ewert Kotze, the Head of Rates Clearances, Deeds, Final Accounts and Refunds at the City of Cape Town. “The system will also allow us to timeously update property ownership information, as well as improve and accelerate the refund process on final account credits.”
The implementation of the new system will require a shut-down period of 10 days commencing from 18 November, a process which Kotze believes should have little impact on the existing backlog.
“The City of Cape Town apologises for any inconvenience caused by this brief shut-down period and we aim to do our utmost to make up for any unlikely delays caused as a result,” says Kotze. “The shutdown period is unfortunately necessary in order to fully implement this system, which will significantly enhance the overall property transaction process for all involved parties and ensure that the city is adequately prepared for imminent festive season council closures.”
Integration into the new ISIS system has been fully tested by Korbitec through their RatesClearance.com interface. Korbitec has been a market leader in providing customised software solutions for South Africa’s property industry for the past 35 years. Korbitec’s General Manager Municipal Solutions, Cher Chapple, believes that this is a significant development that is likely to have a substantial impact on buyers, sellers, attorneys and estate agents alike.
“Rates clearance delays have major repercussions for all parties involved in the transaction – sellers suffer interest losses, conveyancing attorneys allocate extensive time and money following up with council offices, and buyers are unable to accurately plan their move into their newly purchased property,” explains Chapple. “The City of Cape Town’s new software solution will provide welcome relief across the board and the efficiency of the system means that the property transaction process will be simpler, less time consuming and more cost-effective than in the past.”
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