The Community Scheme Ombud Service (CSOS) was established in terms of the Community Schemes Ombud Service Act, Act 9 of 2011 (the CSOS Act). One of its mandates and function is to, inter alia, provide a dispute resolution mechanism for community schemes.
Section 1 of the CSOS Act defines a “community scheme” as any scheme or arrangement where there is shared use of and responsibility for parts of land and buildings, including but not limited to:
A “dispute” means a dispute regarding the administration of a community scheme between persons who have a material interest in that scheme, of which one of the parties is the association, occupier, or owner, acting individually or jointly:
Over a period, a number of applications for dispute resolution was lodged by the Administrator in respect of body corporates primarily in Bonela and in other areas in Durban. The relief sought by the Administrator was directed against the owners of properties and units of such body corporates and related to a request for an order for the payment or repayment of levy contributions and other associated amounts.
The housing units in Bonela and similar areas were previously sectionalised. There is legislation which govern sectional title units. Owners of units in sectional title schemes governed and managed by body corporates have an obligation to pay levies to the body corporate. Body corporates usually have a governing structure in place called Trustees.
Where body corporates become dysfunctional an Administrator may be appointed by the Court to carry out the powers, duties and functions of the body corporate and Trustees.
At CSOS, these matters were clustered together for the purpose of dispute resolution and adjudication since they were lodged by the same Applicant and for the same relief. A panel of adjudicators was appointed to specifically concentrate on these matters, conduct adjudications and to determine an appropriate order.
The Adjudicator is empowered to investigate the dispute and make binding adjudication orders which have the status of a high court order. The adjudicator may in terms of section 51 read with section 53 & 54 of the CSOS Act, make an order on the papers in the file, granting or dismissing the relief applied for.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these matters were adjudicated on the papers. However, the parties were given an opportunity to file final written submissions.
Details of the briefing are as follows:
Date: Thursday, 10 February 2022
Venue: CSOS KZN Offices
275 Anton Lembede Street, 7th Floor, Aquasky Towers, Durban.
For immediate release