The NPPC has requested that relocations be permitted where rental contracts have expired or deeds transfer of ownership has been effected, provided that such proof is available and a permit has been granted. File picture: Steven Senne/AP
The NPPC has requested that relocations be permitted where rental contracts have expired or deeds transfer of ownership has been effected, provided that such proof is available and a permit has been granted. File picture: Steven Senne/AP

Property and construction sectors ask to be reopened under Level 4 lockdown

By Vivian Warby Time of article published Apr 28, 2020

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Cape Town - The National Property Practitioners Council (NPPC) has called for residential and commercial relocations to be permitted in Level 4 of lockdown.

Currently the housing market has ground to a stand-still with tenants unable to relocate and honour lease agreements and transfers that were due to take place in limbo.

The NPPC requested relocations be permitted where rental contracts have expired or deeds transfer of ownership has been effected, provided that such proof is available and a permit has been granted.

NPPC chairperson Vuyiswa Mutshekwane says the Council made this call after the real estate sector and some related services were not identified in the permitted goods, services and movement schedule under lockdown Level 4 and are currently categorised as Level 2.

The NPPC has also called for the real estate sector to be reclassified as a Level 4 industry via a written submission to the proposed Risk Adjusted Strategy for Economic Activity published by the Department of Cogta. 

About 70-80% of the real estate industry faces disaster if trading remains paused – part of a dire situation its members find themselves in after a month of the anti-Covid19 national lockdown.

Just how badly the industry is suffering is contained in these submissions.

Laying bare its devastation, the real estate sector contends if not allowed to start operating by Friday not only would it suffer economic fatalities and its 5% contribution to the GDP be lost, but so too would industries relying on it to function be hard hit.

The residential property market is already projected to contract by 40% in 2020 which would result in a total economic loss of R15,7 billion to GDP. 

Employees have already left the industry and belief is this “will now rapidly accelerate” with property practitioners at high risk of liquidation and destitution as they have been without an income for months following the closure of the deeds office, says Mutshekwane.

The deeds office is proposed to open for selected services in Level 4. However, the NPPC has requested clarity on whether this will include property transfers. 

The construction industry fares no better.

In a submission made on Monday by Horizon Capital,’s  MD David Sedgwick states: “Continued closure of this construction sector would cause further harm to an industry and sector already on its knees. 

“. If the industry is barred from operating under Level 4, we fear there may be no jobs to go back to when we reach levels 2 and 3,” Sedgwick contends.

Recommendations have also been made by the industries as to how the sectors could implement virus spread risk mitigation strategies.

* Read more on  Property360

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