In her foreword to the latest Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) newsletter, Acting Chief Ombud Ndivhuo Rabuli noted that the organisation was undergoing the audit by the Auditor-General in respect of its financial statements and non-financial performance.  The final and approved annual report will be published after presentation to Parliament.

It is hoped by the industry that the report will include solutions to recover the R80m loss following the investment in VBS Bank last year, which led to the organisations first adverse audit report.

Low levels of scheme registration a concern

The low levels of scheme registration and compliance to the CSOS Act has been a concern for some time, according to Ms Rabuli. To address this, the CSOS will commence with the issuing of notices of noncompliance to community schemes that have not registered with the CSOS to ensure high levels of registration compliance.

CSOS approval of rules to be amended

The Ombud noted that the CSOS Practice Directive on Dispute Resolution and the Circular on the Approval of Rules had to be amended, following the outcome of the recent supreme court case, In the Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate Management Association II (RF) NPC v Singh and others.  The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that private residential estates are indeed legally entitled to enforce the rules of such estate against its residents as members of the estate homeowners’ association, including those rules relating to speed limits on the roads within the estate.

These amendments would be published towards the end of May 2019, according to Ms Rabuli, and be available on the CSOS website. However, at the time of publication, the amendments were not yet available on the site.

Performance information

According to the report, which detailed outcomes of the first quarter of 2019, the CSOS has a target of resolving 70% of matters received and in the area of Dispute Resolution, the body is exceeding its targets across provinces.

The CSOS breaks down complaints received into eight categories: financial, governance, private and common areas, behavioural, meetings, management services, general and other issues and not clearly defined.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Total number of complaints: 1773.
  • Financial complaints topped the list, followed by disputes over private and common areas (304). Behavioural issued accounted for 113 complaints.
  • Highest number of complaints from Sectional Title developments (1557), followed by Home Owners Associations, with 146 complaints.

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