Generally speaking, the duties and functions of a Body corporate is prescribed in the Sectional Title Scheme Management Act of 2011 under Section 3 whilst additional powers are conferred to the Body Corporate in Sections 4 and 5. Furthermore, the regulations made under the Act stipulates further duties and functions, including Financial, Administrative and Physical Management Functions.
But, there is one particular clause in this Act, that extends the legal duties of the body corporate way beyond the obvious, and that is the requirement of Section 3(1)(p) – (q) which states that:
“A body corporate must perform the functions entrusted to it by or under this Act or the rules, and such functions include to ensure compliance with any law relating to the common property or to any improvement of land comprised in the common property;” and “to maintain any plant, machinery, fixtures and fittings used in connection with the common property and sections and to keep them in a state of good and serviceable repair.”
So what exactly is a “Body Corporate”?
In relation to a building and the land in a sectional title scheme it means the body corporate of that building referred to in section 2(1) of the Act. With effect from the date on which any person other than the developer becomes an owner of a unit in a sectional title scheme, a body corporate comes into being. The Property developer and such person are members, and any person who thereafter becomes an owner of a unit in that scheme is a member of that body corporate.
But when it comes to the maintenance of plant and machinery, the “body corporate” takes on a new look.
In relation to plant or machinery, the “person” who uses plant or machinery for his own benefit or who has the right of control over the use of plant or machinery is regarded as the “User” of that plant or machinery. This does not include a lessor of, or any person employed in connection with, that plant or machinery. The definition of a “User” is found in the Occupational Health & Safety Act, 1993. And there is a vast number of regulations governing machinery and plant which the Body corporate as the “user” must comply with in order to meet its obligations in terms of the STSM Act.
The two Acts work in conjuction with each other, but each have their own goal or purpose.
The STSM Act
The OHS Act on the other hand is not concerned with the value of the common property or the comfort of the residents, but inter alia provides for the health and safety of persons in connection with the use of plant and machinery and the protection of persons other than persons at work against hazards to health and safety arising out of or in connection with the activities of persons at work.