By Sanette Viljoen
In South Africa an electric fence is a common occurrence. Every second home has electric fencing as a way of keeping the property safe. This necessity to regulate safety issues led to the promulgation of the Electric Machinery Regulations pertaining to the Occupational Health and Safety Act no. 85 of 1993, which regulates electric fences and their certification.
What are the implications of the regulations for electric fences?
These regulations stipulate that all electric fences installed after 1 October 2012 must have a compliance certificate. This also applies to fences which have been altered or where sections of the site have been enlarged or decreased and therefore the fence as well.
What effect do these regulations have on the transfer of property?
These regulations stipulate that where a change of ownership of the site took place after 1 October 2012, the consumer first has to submit an electric fencing certificate. The stipulations do not state which party, the buyer or the seller, is responsible for obtaining this certificate. It is left to the parties to decide who will assume the responsibility and pay the costs thereof. In practice, often it is the responsibility of the seller, as the seller has to make sure that the buyer is able to obtain transfer of the property onto his name. The Occupational Health and Safety Act does however allow for the undertaking to be transferred and therefore it can also be said that the seller carries over the obligation to the buyer, who has to see to it that he obtains transfer and carries the cost thereof.
If such a certificate has already been received, a new certificate will however be required each time an addition or alteration is made to the system. It would therefore be sensible to add a clause in the deed of sale that stipulates that no alternations or additions were made to the system, so that the certificate remains valid.
For how long is such a certificate valid and is it transferable from one owner to the next?
Compared to the usual electric certificate, which is valid for two years only, the fencing certificate is transferable from one owner to the next. As soon as the certificate has been issued, there is no need for a further certificate. The certificate is valid until the necessity arises for it to be amended. The certificate therefore is valid until an alteration is made to the system or a new system is installed.
An electric fencing certificate therefore is part of the transfer of the property and is of cardinal importance. There is a responsibility for the obtaining of certification and this responsibility must form part of the purchase agreement.