Fintech software specialist, e4, recently rolled out a rates clearance solution for Msunduzi Municipality. e4 Rates aims at alleviating the backlog of requests currently being experienced at the council.
“Without a Rates Clearance certificate, property transfers are not able to go ahead and what we find is that attorneys are applying for clearance figures well before a deal is secured, to try and shorten the delay caused by the time it takes to get clearance certificates.” says Clive Bredenkamp, Head of e4’s Legal Studio division. “This is a national challenge and technology is readily available to help make this process fast, easy and reliable”.
Transfer attorneys can log on to the e4 website and choose from a wide range of councils and electronically submit their application. If the attorney has already captured the transfer details, it’s as easy as a few clicks to populate the rest of the request for a specific council. The council then receives the instruction electronically and can start working on the clearance requirements immediately. Bredenkamp says that since launching with Msunduzi in October, the platform has already processed over 700 rates clearance requests.
A game changer in the property industry is the ongoing saturation of Electronic Signatures to prevent fraudulent activity. This is especially helpful when it comes to clearance certificates of any form. In the case of a Rates Council, the Rates Manager is issued with an Advanced Electronic Certificate and with this they electronically sign the Rates Clearance Certificate (RCC) that is automatically generated by the system. The fact that this kind of a system eradicates the need for paper is an added benefit.
“We are extremely pleased with the new system and have seen a big improvement in turnaround time”, says Msunduzi’s acting rates manager, Moges Pillay.
Currently in use within over 40 municipalities countrywide, e4’s Rates platform ensures that there is accountability and transparency throughout the clearance process. An audit trail is provided making it easy to track applications. The system enables communication between conveyancers and the councils via direct messages and allows the users to upload documents such as proof of payments too. When a council has multiple departments involved in issuing a clearance certificate, the request is tasked to each relevant department, such as valuations and credit control.
Bredenkamp says that most importantly, the system comes at no cost to the municipality. Conveyancers pay an application fee which subsidises the system. The onus on the council is then to ensure that they are adequately staffed, and these teams are trained to use the system. “We expect to the see a radical drop in the turn-around-time for any council we service and are glad we can be a part of providing tech solutions that makes the lives of South Africans better.”