210 Electric fence on the wall of a complex at Birchleigh near Kempton Park in Ekurhuleni. 130513 Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - Property owners are going to have to be more careful about who they contract to install electric fences so as to comply with a new regulation.

This regulation stipulates that all electric fences be certified and come with an electric fence system certificate of compliance, as reflected in Regulation 12 of the Electric Machinery Regulations of 2011.

This applies only to systems that came into existence after October 1 last year.

However, it also will apply in cases where the system is altered or added to, or where the premises changes ownership after October 1 this year.

Any property transfer after that date, therefore, carries with it the obligation to provide a certificate if there is an electric fence in place.

All properties – including residential, commercial and sectional titles within complexes – must comply.

A number of people have complained about the regulation on social networks, with many saying the it was meant to protect burglars.

“Next they will tell me to remove my burglar proofing because a burglar might get stuck in it and hurt himself… This is total insanity. I’ll remove my fence when they remove the criminals,” said one.

SA Electric Fences Association founder member Etien van der Merwe said the regulation actually protected innocent people within the property. He added that electrical output from fences had always been regulated.

“Energisers are controlled: the electrical machinery regulations stipulate a certain output. Adjusting fences to be more lethal is actually illegal.”

The regulation would ensure installers were held accountable and minimise fly-by-night installers.

Failure to have a compliance certificate could cost one a great deal, said John Graham, the chief executive of HouseCheck Home Inspection Services.

“If you don’t have the certificate, you can’t sell your house, and if somebody gets hurt by a non-compliant fence, you could get sued.”

He said electrical fence installers had to write an examination and be registered with the Department of Labour by October 1 this year.

What makes an electric fence compliant?

* It must be installed by a registered electric fence installer, not a non-specialist company.

* Owner must have a certificate of compliance.

* Output should not be adjusted to make it more lethal.

* Warning signs of a fence visible from driveway and pavement.

* Fence should not overhang a neighbour’s yard or a pavement.

Penalties for non-compliance

* You cannot sell a property without the certificate.

* If someone gets hurt by an electric fence on your property, you could be sued.

* You may have to upgrade to compliance or be forced to remove the fence.

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The Star