The Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture recommends compulsory disclosures about land ownership. A declaration process similar to FICA would be used.
What disclosures must owners make now?
The Deeds Registry Act says individual owners must identify themselves by disclosing their name, identity number, date of birth or registration number, and marital status. The name and registration number must be disclosed for a company or trust. Income tax and VAT registration numbers are sent to SARS when registering a title deed, as part of the transfer duty process.
Is the privacy of this identity information protected?
This identity information and the name and number of companies and trusts is recorded in the deeds registry and shown on the title deed. Title deeds are public documents. SARS information is not shown on the title deed.
What extra owner disclosures and declarations may be required in the future?
The Panel says the following should be disclosed and declared in future:
- status of citizenship
- permanent residence status
- foreign passport numbers
- nature of company shareholders
- nature of trust beneficiaries
- income tax number and VAT registration number
How soon would the rules about future disclosure be changed?
The Panel says we need an amendment to the Deeds Registries Act and Regulation 18. This deeds registry regulation allows the Registration Regulation Board to make regulations about the manner and form of identifying persons. Changes must be approved by the Minister. Regulations can be changed on a fairly short turnaround.
Will people need to make these disclosures if they already have a title deed?
The Panel says existing owners should also make disclosures. These disclosures would be similar to those expected of future owners.
How soon could the rules about disclosure for past title deeds change?
Compulsory disclosures about ownership for title deeds registered in the past will require amendments to the Deeds Registries Act itself. Amendments to Acts are much slower than changing regulations, as changes need an enactment by Parliament.
Is it true that land will be forfeited if you don’t disclose?
The Panel says land should be forfeited to the state where there is non-compliance.
What other amendments to the Deeds Registry Act will be made?
The Panel says amendments should also deal with compulsory identification of owners, a verification system of landowners, accurate and reliable record-keeping and a monitoring mechanism.