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Progress regarding online clearance applications
South Africa - Tech4Law
From City of Tshwane to Pretoria Attorneys Association dated 6th July 2020

As per the meeting held on 9th June 2020 regarding the challenges of the backlog of clearance applications. The City made a commitment to tackle these challenges and to reduce the backlog and the turnaround time with the limited resources amid the situation that is faced by the whole country.

To date 679 Attorneys have registered on the online platform and 1407 profiles are linked to them. Only 705 of these are actively utilizing the system. In order to track progress made to date, table below has been prepared for ease of reference.

Table 1: Total Applications and Issued Figures and Certificates

Covid-19: EAAB evacuates staff as a precautionary measure
South Africa - EAAB
The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), on Friday 3 July 2020 evacuated its staff members from its Sandton, Johannesburg offices after receiving information that an employee of one of its host tenants came into contact with a COVID-19 positive case. The EAAB was notified of the matter around lunchtime and immediately advised all staff to vacate the building.

An employee from the Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) - which is housed in the EAAB office block – notified CSOS management that a relative had received her COVID-19 positive test results.

EAAB CEO Mamodupi Mohlala said it was “unfortunate that we have to close offices two days after re-opening our doors to the public”. She however said the “health and wellbeing of our colleagues and public is a priority”. EAAB compliance officer Oscar Mangole said the closure was a precautionary measure and that both EAAB office blocks will be sanitized before re-opening on Monday 13 July 2020.

The benefits of sale and leaseback deals during COVID-19
South Africa - Propertywheel
With the extension of lockdown, many companies are struggling financially and freeing up capital may be a necessity to keep their businesses operational. According to Spire Property Solutions, one way of doing this is through a sale and leaseback deal.

CEO, Greg Huntingford says that they have noticed a recent increase in these types of deals, and they expect it to be an ongoing trend in the coming months. He says that in a typical sale-leaseback transaction, a property owner sells their owner-occupied building to an investor and at the same time, secures a long-term lease commitment.

“This allows the owner company to access liquid capital that would have otherwise been tied up in its real estate and redeploy this immediate cash flow to ensure business survival,” explains Huntingford.

Covid-19 “will change law firm offices forever”
UK - LegalFutures
A global law firm has predicted that as many as 80% of its workforce will remain transient or permanently working from home after the Covid-19 crisis ends, with only around a fifth being full-time office workers.

In a related development, a workplace design consultant has warned that in future law firms will face a greater challenge in persuading senior partners who were content to work from home to come into the office and help train young lawyers, as they have done in the past.

Meanwhile, a major telephone outsourcing company has reported a massive increase in the use of live chat by law firms since lockdown began.

In a webinar, Lockdown: Tackling the agile challenge, representatives from law firms DWF and newly-merged South-East firm Moore Barlow, joined experts from telephone answering and live chat provider, Moneypenny, and workplace interior designers, Claremont.

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