South Africa, Pretoria – The undertaking by the City of Tshwane to tackle a backlog of 4 216 rates clearance certificates has been hailed as a boost to local economic development.
The process of issuing clearance certificates ground to a halt during the stricter lockdown regulations, and under the watch of the departed municipal administrators.
Many people were frustrated that they could not move into their new homes before they could obtain the certificates, which were a legal requirement.
Those who wanted to relocate into their newly purchased houses accused the City of delaying the process unnecessarily.
Property owner Lerato Bambo previously told the Pretoria News how she was unable to move into a property she bought in Equestria in May because the City had been delaying processing her rates clearance certificate for more than two months.
Executive Mayor Randall Williams said: “The City is acutely aware of the impact that the failure to issue clearance certificates as required by legislation has had on the development sector and the economic activity in general across the City.”
The eradication of the backlog would also mean that properties that could not be legally sold before the acquisition of rates clearance certificates would be sold.
Williams said the rates clearance memo backlog was left by the administrators appointed by the ANC-led government.
“To address this challenge, the reinstated DA-led government has done an intensive review of the process, the available resources, and systems necessary for this function to work in an effort to correct these failures and address the backlog.”
He said there was currently a backlog of 4 216 clearance memos and 979 clearance certificates.
At least 50% of the memos and 17% of the certificates were outstanding for longer than 30 days.
Williams said: “A dedicated team of meter readers and inspectors has been assigned to obtain actual readings if clearance memos and certificates could not be issued as a result of estimated readings.”
Clearance memos outstanding for longer than 30 days must be completed by mid-December.
Outstanding clearance certificates longer than 30 days, must be complete by November 20.
Williams undertook to have a benchmark of seven working days to issue a memo and five working days to issue a clearance certificate after receipt of payment with effect from January 2021.
“The adherence to this benchmark will be closely monitored. The development and finalisation of the e-Clearance Enhancement online platform available to conveyancers also resumed in November following a long delay of inactivity,” he said.
He said the online platform was essential to improving efficiencies, curbing the prevalence of fraudulent clearance certificates used to transfer properties and to address allegations of corruption between City officials and runners visiting customer care centers.
“We are committed to providing a transparent and effective service to all stakeholders once the backlog has been eradicated,” he said.