As with a Court application, the CSOS does accept urgent dispute resolution applications, and will hear these matters within 24 hours (circumstances permitting); provided that all other prerequisites are complied with, such as full details of the dispute being received, the opposing party or parties being notified and given the opportunity to state their case, and the dispute resolution fee being paid to the CSOS. It is also imperative that the matter is actually urgent, and that the urgency is not self-created or simply perceived by the party bringing the application as being urgent, whereas it really is not urgent.
The application can be brought in terms of any sub-section under “Prayers for Relief” in terms of section 39 of the CSOS Act No.9 of 2011. The Applicant proves that the granting of the relief is in fact urgent.
Alternatively, where, for example, the electricity or water supply to a unit has been terminated simply because money is owed to the body corporate, or access to a scheme or unit is denied for some reason, then the application must be brought in terms of section 39(7)(b) of the Act under “any other order proposed by the chief ombud”.
A dispute application is lodged with CSOS in terms of Section 38 of the CSOS Act which provides:
(1) Any person may make an application if such person is a party to or affected materially by a dispute.
(2) An application must be-
- made in the prescribed manner and as may be required by practice directives;
- lodged with an ombud; and
- accompanied by the prescribed application fee.
(3) The applicaton must include statements setting out-
- the relief sought by the applicant, which relief must be within the scope of one or more of the prayers for the relief contemplated in section 39;
- the name and address of each person the applicant considers to be affected materially by the application; and
- the grounds on which the relief is sought.
(4) If the applicant considers that the application qualifies for a discount or a waiver of adjudication fees, the application must include a request for such discount or waiver.
In addition, Section 36 provides:
36. Practice directives
- The chief ombud must issue practice directives with regard to any matter pertaining to the operation of the Service.
- Practice directives must, subject to this Act and the regulations, direct the performance of any act in the operation of the Service.
Most importantly, Clause 33 of the Practice Directive on Dispute Resolution, 2019, in respect of URGENT APPLICATIONS FOR DISPUTE RESOLUTION, provides:-
33 URGENT MATTERS
33.1 The Applicant can submit an application for the matter to be heard on an urgent basis.
33.2 The applicant must demonstrate that there is a current, genuine emergency requiring an urgent adjudication order. The urgency cannot be used to circumvent the ordinary conciliation and adjudication processes.
33.3 The grounds of the application should include details of whether
33.3.1 there is an immediate and serious health and safety issue;
33.3.2 deprivation of essential services, not limited to disconnection of water and electricity;
33.3.3 access to the scheme by unit owners and occupiers.
33.4 The fact that the applicant has failed to take appropriate or necessary action to address an issue over time does not necessarily create emergency circumstances.
33.5 The decision whether to treat the matter as urgent will depend on the nature and circumstances of the application.
33.6 While still ensuring procedural fairness to all parties, the Ombud may limit the period for the respondent and affected persons to make a submission, or for the applicant to reply to the submissions.
33.7 The Ombud may limit or refuse an extension to the submission or reply period where such a request.
33.8 If it is later found that the matter was not urgent, the Adjudicator may issue a cost order against the applicant.
The CSOS dispute resolution form can be downloaded from our website, at www.csos.org.za, filled in and then emailed (with all the supporting documents) to the office closest to where your community scheme is situated – Johannesburg (which covers the entire Gauteng region, Limpopo and North-West), Cape Town (which covers the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape) or Durban (which includes Kwazulu Natal, the Free State and Mpumalanga). The website will provide you with the email addresses of the respective offices.
A new dispute application or a previously submitted application may be viewed as urgent. In the new dispute, the applicant may make an application for urgency in the application itself. For previously submitted disputes, the applicant need only make an application for the Ombud to consider that dispute application as urgent.
Regardless of the urgency, the prescribed fees must be paid within the required time, unless the applicant qualifies for a waiver or the waiver application is approved. The application for urgency must be in respect of a dispute which applies to relief set out in section 39 of the CSOS Act.
Attach your application to a covering email that clearly states that the matter is urgent and requires immediate attention. State the grounds for urgency in your email and in the application itself. It will also be of benefit to telephone our office and speak to one of our case officers and who will afford your application the urgency that it requires.