By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Due to unworkable technicalities pertaining to the registration of homes, flats and farms by two separate offices operating in the country, draft legislation is being drawn up to unify the existing two deeds registration systems. This fact was yesterday telephonically confirmed by Dana Beukes, the Registrar of Deeds in the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement. “The office of the Registrar of Deeds is currently operating from two deeds registry offices, being the Windhoek and Rehoboth deeds registries. The main functions of these offices are the registration of houses, private and/or government flats and farms, and the administration thereof,” said Beukes. The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement has categorically denied rumours that were circulating in Rehoboth that the Rehoboth Deeds Office is to close down on October 31, saying it was the result of the spreading of misinformation at the town. “Such information is baseless and only those who are circulating the rumours are the ones who know the source,” said a statement from the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement. “The uncertainty of the purported closure of the Rehoboth deeds registry resulted in an urgent meeting by the Town Council of Rehoboth last week with the minister of Lands and Resettlement, Jerry Ekandjo. Naturally, the town council was concerned about the persistent rumours. Hence the meeting with the minister,” said Beukes, who acknowledged that a process of consolidating the systems used by the two offices is presently under way. “It is unacceptable to the government that two separate systems are being operated, one less effective than the other. At Rehoboth, the present system caters for a basic registration in which a piece of paper is being produced with little or no real collateral value to property owners,” Beukes said. According to him, businesses as a rule have never taken seriously the ‘piece of paper’ from the Rehoboth Deeds Office. “The Windhoek office has been issuing proper and valid transfer deeds on properties that are respected and acknowledged by banks and other financial institutions as collateral for home owners. Why should we allow a handful of people from the Rehoboth area to weaken and disadvantage the broader Namibian property owning public? That is why we are seriously working on efforts to unify the two office systems in accordance with a government mandate,” said Beukes. “The ministry of Lands and Resettlement is currently liaising with legal drafters to smoothen the draft bill as well as align it to provisions of other relevant pieces of legislation,” stated a press release from the ministry of Lands and Resettlement’s PRO, Chris Matongela. Asked whether the two deeds offices are able to cope with the registration of all properties country-wide, the registrar said that he did not expect major complications. “I do not foresee any problems because it has been historically the case that all properties be registered in the capital. However, under the envisaged consolidated scheme under a new act we hope to open offices in all 13 regions as part of decentralization, whereby all property owners will benefit,” Beukes said. “It is too early to provide details of the proposed bill in its entirety. The ministry of Lands and Resettlement therefore wishes to assure everyone affected that the Rehoboth Deeds Office will remain open to the public as has been in the past,” the statement from Matongela emphasized.
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