IMMOVABLE ASSET REGISTER
Department of Public Works
09 06 2004
One of the key mandates of all custodians of the State’s immovable assets, across all tiers of government, is to ensure that the State obtains the best functional, social and financial returns from its property portfolio. Government’s desire to manage its immovable assets effectively and efficiently, necessitates an accurate and complete asset register.
In 1996, the Department of Public Works commenced with the compilation of a comprehensive inventory of immovable assets under the control of Provincial and National Governments. The information that was gathered included –
- physical address of properties;
- cadastral description and extent of land parcels;
- utilisation and users of properties;
- zoning and potential use of properties; as well as
- photographs and footprint sketches of sites & improvements.
The electronic capturing of the data was completed in 1999 and thereafter the information in respect of all provincial properties was handed to the relevant Provincial Administrations for the upgrading and maintenance of the provincial property registers.
Success of the current national Asset Register
- Prior to 1994 information on State-owned properties was captured in a variety of disjointed inventories, some of which were manual paper-based systems. For the first time, a comprehensive inventory of State-owned immovable assets was available in an electronic format;
- Through the data gathering exercise, much more accurate information on properties was obtained than was previously available on the various disjointed inventories which existed prior to 1994.
- Custodians of State land now have the ability to allocate expenditure (such as the cost of acquisition, property rates, municipal service charges and maintenance costs) against individual properties;
- The asset register also enhances the State’s ability to manage State-owned properties leased out to private entities and to generate accounts and record receipts electronically; and
- Custodians now have the ability to better assess the level of utilisation of State land and to identify properties that have no further strategic value to the State and can thus be considered for land reform purposes or disposal.
Shortcomings and of the current national Asset Register and actions to address these shortcomings
- There are some inaccuracies in the data on the national asset register and the Department is correcting these inaccuracies on an ongoing basis as they come to light. In addition, one aspect of the Department’s Service Delivery Improvement Programme is to ensure that any changes to properties are captured timeously and accurately on the asset register.
- The data gathering exercise of 1997/99 did not remove all uncertainties resulting from the new Constitutional dispensation which in turn created a new separation of ownership of State land between National, Provincial, and Municipal Governments. This is being addressed through a joint process between Public Works and Land Affairs and the provinces. This process of vesting all state land in the correct new sphere of government is being led by the Department of Land Affairs, which is currently preparing to issue a large open tender for service providers to assist with addressing this issue.
- Rights over State land are not currently captured on the asset register. Together with the provincial Public Works Departments, the Department is currently preparing a tender for the identification and capturing of information on the rights granted over State land (for example servitudes, rights of way and leases) and the rights held by the State over private properties (for example servitudes, rights of resumption & other conditions of title in favour of the State). It is envisaged that this work will take approximately two years to complete.