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It is important for home owners dealing with a change of ownership of immovable property to be aware of the latest developments in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993, the Act regarding electric fences. Regulation 12 of the Electrical Machinery Regulations 2011 imposes an obligation on the user of an electric fence system to have an electric fence system certificate of compliance.

The requirement does not apply to a system in existence prior to 1 October 2012. However, as with an electrical compliance certificate, this certificate will be required where an addition or alteration is effected to the system or where there is a change of ownership of the premises on which the system exists if the change of ownership takes place after 1 October 2012.

From 1 December 2012 all new, upgraded and repaired electric fence installations in South Africa must be compliant and the government has now established strict new regulations for this industry. By 1 October 2013, all electric fence installers must be registered after first passing stringent examinations.

The new law says that electric fences must now be certified with an electric fence system certificate of compliance (EFC). This certificate is similar to the electrical compliance certificate which all property owners must have. However, electricians cannot issue this electric fence certification unless the electrician is also qualified in terms of the new electric fence laws and has been registered with the Department of Labour.

In terms of this new law, all properties with an electric fence can only be transferred after 1 December 2012, if an EFC has been lodged with the transferring attorney. All residential and commercial units, freehold and/or sectional title within townhouse complexes, housing estates, echo parks, business parks, also fall under this legislation.

A certificate is also required when a change and or addition is made to an existing installation such as restringing an electric fence, or any additions to an electric fence.