Deeds reg­is­tra­tion to go dig­i­tal

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pamela Shumba

THE Gov­ern­ment will soon dig­i­talise the reg­is­tra­tion of deeds through the Deeds Reg­istries Amend­ment Bill to re­move sec­tions which are deemed to be hin­der­ing the ease of do­ing busi­ness at the Deeds Of­fice.

The Deeds Reg­istries Bill, which will amend the Deeds Reg­istries Act (Chap­ter 20:05), is ex­pected to trans­form the cur­rent pa­per-based court pro­cesses by mi­grat­ing to com­puter-based tech­nol­ogy.

Ac­cord­ing to the Par­lia­ment of Zim­babwe Bill sta­tus re­port, the Deeds Reg­istries Amend­ment Bill was gazetted on Au­gust 12, 2016, and re­mained open for pub­lic scru­tiny un­til the end of Septem­ber.

The Bill is await­ing con­sid­er­a­tion by the Par­lia­men­tary Le­gal Com­mit­tee be­fore go­ing back to the National As­sem­bly for the sec­ond read­ing.

Amend­ments to clause 3 and 4 of the Bill read: “The amend­ments sought by these clauses (3 and 4) will per­mit the dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion of the deeds registry and the even­tual es­tab­lish­ment of an elec­tronic deeds registry, which will sup­ple­ment the pa­per-based one, thereby greatly ex­pe­dit­ing and fa­cil­i­tat­ing deeds registry ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Ac­cess to the elec­tronic registry for the pur­pose of in­for­ma­tion­gath­er­ing and con­veyanc­ing work or no­tar­ial prac­tice will be sub­ject to cer­tain safe­guards against fraud, vi­o­la­tions of pri­vacy and other abuses.

The elec­tronic registry shall be­come op­er­a­tional when the Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Par­lia­men­tary and Le­gal Af­fairs in con­sul­ta­tion with the Regis­trar set a date and spec­ify by no­tice in a Statu­tory In­stru­ment. Ac­cord­ing to the Bill, the Regis­trar will es­tab­lish and main­tain a com­puter sys­tem for the pur­pose of ap­ply­ing in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy to any process or pro­ce­dure un­der this Act.

“The sys­tem in­cludes the dis­patch and re­ceipt and pro­cess­ing of any deed, re­turn, record, as­sess­ment, dec­la­ra­tion, form, no­tice, state­ment or other doc­u­ment for the pur­poses of this Act.

“The use of the elec­tronic registry shall be re­stricted to regis­tered users only. Such use shall not in­ter­rupt or prej­u­dice the con­tin­ued use of the pa­per-based deeds registry by users who are not regis­tered,” reads part of the Bill.

One of the ar­eas iden­ti­fied as hin­der­ing busi­ness is the stor­age of records in pa­per for­mat.

If the amend­ments sail through, the Act will al­low for elec­tronic ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion and dig­i­tal stor­age of records.By amend­ing the sec­tion, Gov­ern­ment is cre­at­ing a plat­form for mem­bers of the pub­lic to have easy ac­cess to the deeds data­base elec­tron­i­cally.

Cur­rently the Deeds Of­fice has only two of­fices in Harare and Bulawayo and this is not con­ve­nient for the pub­lic.Again, peo­ple out­side the coun­try can­not ac­cess the data­base.

The amend­ment of the Act comes af­ter a study by the World Bank on do­ing busi­ness in Zim­babwe showed that it takes about five pro­ce­dures and 36 days to reg­is­ter prop­erty.

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