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Perpetuating official languages

20 March 2014

Regulation 35 (2) (“the Regulation”) of the Regulations made in terms of section 10 of the Deeds Registries Act, 1937 (Act 47 of 1937), as amended, which Regulation became effective from 17 May 2010, provides that: “Conditions should be inserted in deeds in the official language in which they were constituted, provided that where any conditions are embodied in a registered deed in another official language, such language may be perpetuated in subsequent deeds.”

Paragraph 2.5 of Chief Registrar’s Circular 4/2010 (“the Circular”) provides that: “Regulation 35 (2) previously provided for conditions to be inserted into title deeds in the official languages that existed prior to the 1994 dispensation, that being Afrikaans and English. The amended regulation 35 (2) provides for the insertion of conditions into title deeds in any of the eleven official languages in which the conditions have been constituted.”

It is clear from the afore-going, particularly the proviso to the Regulation, that, amongst other things, (i) whereas, prior to 17 May 2010, conditions constituted in Afrikaans could be embodied in title deeds in English, “the other official language”, and vice versa, (ii) with effect from 17 May 2010, conditions constituted in any of the eleven official languages, (“the 11 languages”), specified in section 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, as amended, may not be embodied in title deeds in any of the other ten official languages.

One of the absurdities of the perpetuation of languages provided for in the Regulation can be illustrated by an example of a draft deed of transfer of 11 properties, held by 11 title deeds, with exactly the same condition, in the 11 languages. In this case, it would not be permissible, in paragraphs 2 – 11 of the draft deed of transfer, to say: “Subject to the condition set out in paragraph 1 above.”

As the example of the draft Deed of Transfer of two properties, below shows, where one property is dealt with in paragraph 1 and the other in paragraph 2. Despite the conditions of title for the two properties being the same but in different languages, it is not permissible, in paragraph 2, to simply refer to the conditions in paragraph 1: you are compelled to type the conditions in their different language.

Thus

Para. 1

SUBJECT to the following conditions:-

(a) That the land shall be subject to such town regulations, stipulations, and laws as already exist or may hereafter be passed by the Legislature;

(b) that the said land shall be further subject to all obligations and regulations which already exist or may be later established with reference to land granted on similar conditions.

Para. 2

SUBJECT to the following conditions:-

(a) Die grond sal onderworpe wees aan die stads- of dorpsregulasies, bepalinge en wette wat alreeds bestaan of later van krag mag word;

(b) Die grond sal onderworpe wees aan alle verpligtinge en regulasies wat alreeds bestaan of later van krag mag word met betrekking tot grond wat onder dergelike voorwaardes toegeken is;

In conclusion, I submit that the Regulation simply be repealed.

Thabo Nqhome

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