A settlement has been reached between the Forum of Concerned Residents of Vryburg and the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform to keep the Deeds Office in Vryburg open. The Forum was represented and assisted by AfriBusiness to prohibit the relocation of certain Northern Cape deeds registries to the Kimberley deeds office, at least until the implementation of the electronic deeds registry system.
Former Minister Gugile Nkwinti gave an undertaking in July 2016 not to move or rearrange the deeds office in question, yet AfriBusiness was approached by concerned residents after it became known that certain deeds registries would be moved to Kimberley on 1 April 2018 without proper public participation. Due to the fragile nature of Vryburg’s local economy and the business interests and investments in that area, AfriBusiness contacted the Minister’s offices to halt these proceedings.
Nkwinti was to acknowledge this undertaking on paper, but was unable to do so because he was moved that same evening to the position of Minister of Water and Sanitation by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Nkwinti was replaced by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. AfriBusiness then approached the North Gauteng High Court on an urgent basis, where after the parties settled to keep the status quo of the deeds office intact, pending the outcome of a hearing on the facts in a court of law.
“As an organisation that advocates prosperous business environments with an emphasis on free market forces, we had to intervene in this matter. Especially considering that the town was established around the deeds office and all the business interests are connected therewith. We are satisfied with this temporary positive outcome,” says Armand Greyling, Law and Policy Analyst at AfriBusiness.