by Dr Gerhard Jooste
Dr G JoosteThe Consumer Protection Act
The Consumer Protection Act (Act No 68 of 2008) (CPA) was signed into law on 24 April 2009. The Act sets out the minimum requirements to ensure adequate consumer protection in South Africa. This Act constitutes an overarching framework for consumer protection. All suppliers of goods and services will need to take note of the new measures and ensure that they are able to comply. The CPA came into effect on 31 March 2011.

The question that interests me is to what extent the CPA impacts on the Sectional Title Industry.

CPA and Bodies Corporate
The relationship between a Body Corporate and the owners of sections within a Body Corporate is such that the owners are members of the Body Corporate by law. Although a Body Corporate organises certain services to be delivered to the advantage of owners (e.g. security, garden maintenance, maintenance of the buildings and insurance of the buildings), the Body Corporate is not a service supplier as defined in the Act. Accordingly the CPA doesn’t apply to this relationship and owners cannot approach the National Consumer Commission to complain about substandard service from the Body Corporate. As will become clear, service providers to the Body Corporate will however have a liability not only towards the Body Corporate, but also towards the end receivers of any service.

CPA and the relationship with clients of a Managing Agent
A Managing Agent who advertises and contracts to deliver management services to Bodies Corporate is certainly a Service Supplier in terms of section 1 of the CPA. Accordingly, the management agreements with the Bodies Corporate fall under the jurisdiction of the CPA, unless the Body Corporate has a turnover that exceeds R2 million per annum. It is however important to realise that the definition of a consumer includes “a recipient or beneficiary of those particular services”. The individual owners of units in a Scheme are therefore also customers and can insist on the protection of the Act. Even tenants could form part of the customer base according to the Act.

Chapter 2 of the CPA provides the Consumer with a number of fundamental rights, including protection against discriminatory marketing, the right to select suppliers, the right to a cooling off period, etc. Specifically, parts F (Right to fair and honest dealing), G (Right to fair, just and reasonable terms and conditions) and H (Right to fair value, good quality and safety) will apply to the management agreements and service delivery of Managing Agents. To what extent clients will be able to rely on these sections in practice when unhappy with the Managing Agent remains to be seen. In principle, however, they will be able to insist on compliance from a Managing Agent and can direct a complaint to the enforcement agencies in terms of the CPA.

In my opinion, one of the instances that might attract attention soon is the question of whether the fees charged for Clearance Certificates by Managing Agents are fair. It is a statutory obligation on the conveyancer (section 15(3) of the Sectional Title Act) to get a certificate before a sectional title unit can be transferred from one owner to the next. No fee is prescribed for this service. As a result, some Managing Agents charge exorbitant fees. I think that it is likely that a consumer will take the matter to the National Consumer Commission specifically referring to sections about the right to fair value.

Section 14 of the CPA provides the consumer with the right to cancel fixed term agreements with only 20 business days’ notice. It obliges the supplier to notify the consumer of the expiry date of the agreement not more than 80 and not less than 40 business days before the expiry date. It has been one of the most controversial sections for the whole of the estate agency profession. Letting agencies (commercial and residential) have indicated serious issues and it is likely that the EAAB will apply for exemption in terms of Section 5(3) of the Act. The banking industry, for example, received exemption from the Minister in March 2011.

Fortunately for Managing Agents, section 14 does not apply to agreements between Juristic persons. This means that as before, the duration of management agreements will be governed by the Management Rules in terms of the Sectional Title Act.

Common sense can help
The CPA intends to promote fair and equitable conduct in the market place rather than criminalise conduct. Most businesses will at any rate strive to give their customers a proper service even without the Act making it a legal obligation. In that sense, good business practice and common sense will keep you clear of transgressing the Act in most cases, even if you are not familiar with it. It is nevertheless worthwhile to get hold of the Act and read through Chapter 2. By doing that the risks of non compliance for a specific Managing Agent can quickly be identified and the necessary procedures implemented to reduce or even eliminate those risks.

Article reference: Paddocks Press: Volume 7, Issue 8, Page 2

Dr. Gerhard Jooste is the national NAMA Chairman and Managing Director of ProAdmin.

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license

Back to Paddocks Press – August 2012 Edition


  • Nicole Marriott
    12/08/2017 12:50

    What if you are receiving poor or no service from the appointed garden service in a complex. The trustees and body corporate aren’t willing to listen.

    • Paddocks
      23/08/2017 15:40

      Dear Nicole,

      Thank you for your comment. We are more than happy to help, however we do not give free opinions / advice. Please email us on with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you. Alternatively, join us on

      Kind regards,

  • Brigitte Long
    15/08/2017 11:06

    as chairperson of of a body corporate, and taking legal action against a home owner, I need to know if the Ombudsman is operations. Does the legal action take precedence or do we have to take the Ombudsman route and wait for their ruling?

    • Paddocks
      23/08/2017 15:42

      Dear Brigitte,

      Thank you for your comment. We are more than happy to help, however we do not give free opinions / advice. Please email us on with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you. Alternatively, join us on

      Kind regards,

  • 1. If i had signed a mandate with the managing Agent to manage my unit and decide to cancel it , Can the managing agent charge me for cancelling it?
    2. Can the Managing agent charge collection fee plus vat?

  • Kobus van Nieuwenhuizen
    28/07/2020 11:47

    Good morning i am staying in a complex we are billed for water by the managing agents and we do the payments on our’e prepaid meters so if they tell us it is R500 you must first load it before receiving electricity but we find out at the council they are receiving 6 units off free water for each unit even if your’e property is valued more than R 750 000 so they are selling the water to us even if it is free the managing agents said we must speak to the trustee and they say speak to the managing agents no one wants to take responsibility for this or refund us what can we do.

    • Paddocks
      31/07/2020 13:24

      Hi Kobus,

      Thank you for your comment.

      This is something our attorneys would be able to assist with. Please email us on with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Kind regards,

  • Siphe Dlavana
    24/11/2020 12:53

    I would like to know can I sue the managing agency for Heath and safety! they have been washing all complex bins in front of my unit as I stay in unit 1 every Tuesdays. I have been reporting to them to wash the bins outside as other complex do. I have problem of big green flies, coach roaches, smell and so forth. I cant even open the windows its worse when you cook, Flies around the windows and the door.

    • Paddocks
      25/11/2020 11:35

      Hi Siphe,

      Thank you for your comment. Please note that our legal team would need to advise you on your query. Please email and the team will provide a no-obligation quote for their assistance.

      Kind regards