The following, based on my personal experience (Shirley Baillie) of submitting a dispute application at CSOS (Community Schemes Ombud Service) this should give you an idea of what you can expect if you go to adjudication; thereby empowering your further!
- Down load the relevant CSOS form from the website (http://www.csos.org.za/legislation.html – forms).
- Put your case forward on the form; without being emotional or being long-winded. The details can be attached. (The Ombud came back to me to ask me to clarifiy what I was asking for!!)
- You can submit by email, faxor go in person. (I used email and received replies promptly.)
- Be patient with the CSOS process.
- Approach the hearing as you would a court appearance, it is formal and has its own structure.
- Make yourself available for the day, as it is impossible to guess how long the process will take. (Mine was from 9am to 2.30pm with a total of 25 minutes in breaks.)
The process at the actual adjudication
- The process was well explained to both parties at the beginning.
- Both parties are sworn in.
- The entire process was recorded.
- The managing agent was allowed to attend, but not to say anything.
- I understand that witnesses may be called after testimony has been heard from both parties.
- The applicant starts by presenting his/her case, during which there may not be interaction – the representative of the association (BC) can make notes and ask questions afterwards. The process is then reversed.
- Both parties make closing arguments, basically summing up and the applicant can set out what he/she wishes to achieve.
- From time to time, the adjudicator asks questions, and clarifies points.
- At the end, the Adjudicator advised when he expected to give an order (decision).
Points of interest
- Dispute aspects on which you can apply for assistance are listed in the Community Schemes Ombud Act, clause 39 under the heading “Prayers for Relief”
- Either party can appeal the order, but only on a point of law, or then it has to be in the High Court.
- The order can be made an order of the relevant Court. (High or Magistrate), being clause 56 of the CSOS Act
- The Adjudication process with the Ombud costs R100 which is the maximum charge at this time; (mediation costs R50).
- Be well prepared, particularly as an applicant, so that you give a good logical well thought out, unemotional, presentation.
- Take paper and pen to make notes along the way.
- When a date is set down, both parties have to attend, (like Court) and I found set-down dates are hard to reschedule.
- No legal representation is allowed unless special permission is requested in advance.
- Conciliation (clause 47) is the first step and if that does not work, then the matter can be taken to adjudication.
If you would like to join one of Shirley Baillies’ seminars you can contact her directly at….
Article by – By Shirley Baillie of Keyword Access – May 2017