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Do You Have A Problem With Your Issued Cape Town Water COC (Compliance Certificate)?


Do You Have A Problem With Your Issued Cape Town Water COC (Compliance Certificate)?

One question that has remained without answer for some time though, is who do purchasers go to, if they feel that the seller's plumber did not do a proper inspection and that the water COC certificate is invalid?

A Water Compliance Certificate is required as a local by-law and only applies to properties sold within the City of Cape Town municipality. It came into effect in March 2011.

If any purchaser is not happy and feels that the certificate does not comply, and should the seller or the plumber not respond favourably, then he/she may send an email to and copy Basil van Rooy on, who is a Senior Water Inspector. 

A copy of the Schedule that was issued, must accompany the report. The City is now also conducting its own inspections upon receipt of Certificates from transferring attorneys, to check up on the work that was conducted.

Why is a COC important?

The purpose of a Water Certificate of Compliance (COC) is to make sure that no clean water goes to waste. The COC checklist was introduced to ensure the water installation complies with the relevant City water by-laws and National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, 1977(Act 103 of 1977). The certificate cannot be used as a quality control document for anything other than what is listed on the checkboxes.

The document certifies that:

  • there are no water installation defects relevant to the checklist tick boxes at the time the COC was issued; 
  • the water meter is registering water consumption; 
  • there are no stormwater discharges into the sewer system; 
  • there are no cross-connections between drinking water and any greywater, recycled water or ground-water systems; and
  • the water installation (relevant to the checklist tick boxes of the COC issued) conforms to the national building regulations and City water by-laws.

What is an accredited plumber?

An accredited plumber is a plumber that belongs to the Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA). A check can be done on IOPSA's website to check whether a plumber or plumbing company is accredited with IOPSA.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Although the City has indicated that they are not allowed to withhold rates clearances because of non-compliance with this requirement, the By-Law states in Section 64 thereof that any person who contravenes or fails to comply with its provisions (amongst other things) is guilty of an offence and is, on conviction liable for a fine or imprisonment not exceeding five years or both such fine and term of imprisonment. Furthermore, Section 12 stipulates that no person may use water from the water supply system unless an agreement referred to in Section 13 or 14 has been concluded (i.e. through a metered water supply point specifically installed by the City for the supply of water).

As Section 14 does not refer to any agreements, but merely to the production of the certificate during the transfer process, this could create a situation in future where the non-production of such a certificate may cause problems when a new owner applies for the opening of an account after transfer has taken place.

Validity Period of Water COC

The By-Law does not address how long such a certificate remains valid or whether it can be transferred from one registered owner to another. It can however be implied from the certificate itself that a new certificate needs to be obtained for each transfer as it does not contain an expiry date and requires the details of the seller, the purchaser, and the property in each instance.

Author Miltons Matsemela Attorneys / City of Cape Town Municipality / Dykes Van Heerden Attorneys
Published 31 May 2023 / Views -
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