With the introduction of the Ombudsman for sectional titles being just around the corner, I am making use of this opportunity to highlight some of the shortfalls of the current dispute resolution mechanisms. For anybody involved in sectional title administration, it should be quite clear that arbitration as a dispute resolution option is encumbered with some serious problems.
I come from a labour law background where I had to represent numerous parties in disputes at the CCMA. Generally, these labour disputes are well defined and demarcated in various categories as provided for in the Labour Relations Act, No 66 of 1995. The majority of unfair dismissal disputes revolve around two aspects namely procedural and substantive fairness. The current Sectional Titles legislation, and for that matter all the constitutions of homeowners that I’ve dealt with, provides very little clarification. Arbitration proceedings often don’t achieve the desired outcomes and win or lose, it frequently occurs that the issues the parties sought to clarify are left on the side-line and the dispute decided on some technical point. (more…)