How lockdown regulations affect the management of a sectional title scheme
11 May 2020, Corlia van Zyl
It is important that Sectional title schemes, as a small community of its own, also comply with the Disaster Management Regulations to help minimise the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The biggest question when President Ramaphosa announced the national lockdown, was how are we to behave in a sectional title scheme, as well as how should we comply with sectional legislation with regards to meetings scheduled during the lockdown period.
The answer to these questions can be obtained in the Community Schemes Omdud Service's (CSOS) latest issued directive called the Covid-19 Directive, published on 27 March 2020. In short, whle the directive is also attached hereto, the directive can be summarised as follows:
Since all gatherings of 100 or more persons are prohibited, trustees and owners can still have meetings but these meetings must not only comply with the necessary regulations of the Sectional Title Scheme Management Act, but also the Disaster Management Regulations. Therefore, Trustee meetings, must as far as possible be done via telephone and if it should be in person, the necessary precautions of keeping a safe distance, masks and sanitizing products must be used. The only limitation is on the manner and the venue of the meetings and must therefore still comply with the notice periods and method of notices of the meetings.
Owner meetings, must as far as possible be held by tele-conference or Skype. In the event that the owners are less than the prohibited number, they may have it at a venue in the scheme, but again all the necessary precautions of keeping a safe distance, masks and sanitizers will have to be complied with. Here again the only limitation is with regards to the manner in which the meeting is to be held, but for the rest of the meeting, including the agenda and the notices, must still comply with the Sectional Title Scheme Management Act.
The directive also confirms that schemes must provide employees of the scheme, such as security guards, with protective gear and that common areas that are frequently used by the owners should also be provided with protective gear and sanitizers. If these areas cannot be provided with the necessary, they are to be closed. Biometric systems to gain access to the building must also be cleaned frequently in order to stop the spread of the virus.
The Disaster Management Regulations have also confirmed that every citizen is to stay at home, unless strictly for the purpose of performing an essential service as stated in the regulations. An interesting point being made by the CSOS Directive is to state that therefore owners in a scheme will not be allowed to walk, jog, walk their dogs or to play golf (in golf estates) on the common property of the scheme. Although the latter is technically not correct, seeing that every owner is an owner of an undivided share in the common property and therefore forms part of its “home”, it might be argued that this statement goes to show the Government’s efforts to protect citizens and to stop the spreading of this deadly virus.
As South Africans, we should abide by the National Disaster Regulations and if need be that a meeting be held in a sectional title scheme, we must make sure that we comply with the regulations but also still comply with the current Sectional Title Acts.