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Mauritius takes a responsible approach towards COVID-19

While the first cases of COVID-19 in the country were confirmed on Wednesday 18 March 2020, Mauritius had already started taking steps to prepare for the pandemic.

Mauritius has started to monitor the situation closely shortly after China first alerted the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 31 December 2019 of an outbreak of a new coronavirus in the city of Wuhan. As part of the response, travel restrictions started being imposed from 23 January 2020. At the time, the country had not yet recorded a single confirmed case of the virus.

In the face of the threat posed by the pandemic, a number of precautionary steps were promptly implemented to contain, delay and mitigate any outbreak, including strict surveillance, detection and prevention both at the airport and port. Three quarantine centres were also set up, an awareness campaign was launched and coordinated action was undertaken with WHO to better monitor the situation.

A series of measures were taken to prepare for the coronavirus, including the development of a response strategy in line with WHO recommendations and consultations with relevant authorities and stakeholders. With the COVID-19 quickly escalating into a global pandemic with severe repercussions, the first related death was reported on 21 March, three days after the virus was officially detected in the country.

Scaled-up response

Mauritius stepped up its response accordingly to protect the health of the population. Some Rs 208 million have been made available to the Ministry of Health and Wellness for the acquisition of new medical equipment in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The country’s testing capacity has also been increased the donation of 20,000 tests, 1,000 protective gear and 100,000 masks by the Jack Ma Foundation in late March and 10,000 tests are expected to arrive from Europe in April 2020. In addition, the Mauritian embassy in China is preparing an order for even more tests and protective gear, which will be flown into the country during the course of April.

As a preventive measure, the country’s borders had already been closed to travellers – including cruise ship passengers in the port – on 18 March and all public and private educational institutions across the country were shut down the following day. A curfew order was issued on 23 March before going on a total lockdown, except for essential services, 24 hours later.

That same day, all supermarkets, shops and bakeries were temporarily closed till 31 March. Following the extension of the curfew order, the restrictions on shopping were relaxed on 2 April with twice-weekly access given as per alphabetical order of family name to every household under strict sanitary conditions. An online shopping platform has also been rolled out on Friday 27 March by the local authorities in partnership with the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI).

Support to the most deprived

From early into the crisis, Mauritius has taken a set of measures to support households and communities. These include the distribution of 35,000 food packs to vulnerable people, a Wage Support Scheme, support to informal workers and communities and a Special Assistance Plan by the Bank of Mauritius for families having contracted a housing loan.

To provide relief to the most deprived of our citizens, a COVID-19 Solidarity Fund has been established. The President of the Republic and a number of parliamentarians have already pledged to contribute 10% of their salary for a year to the Fund. The Mauritian people are also encouraged to play their part and as at mid April 2020, the total funds collected had reached more than Rs 60 million.

There have also been repeated calls to be vigilant and observe all precautionary measures. A task force is chaired by the Prime Minister daily and a National Communication Committee has been formed to provide updates on the situation to the population, which is also regularly advised to stay home and avoid any social contact which is not of urgent necessity. Other communication tools include a 24/7 centralised emergency hotline (8924), the official Facebook page of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, a dedicated website and beSafeMoris, a mobile application developed by Mauritius Telecom.

COVID-19 is more than just a health crisis. With the support of various airlines, embassies and private operators like BlueSky, the government had to organise the repatriation of some foreign nationals to their home countries as well as returning Mauritian nationals to the island following the lockdown. The last Air Mauritius flight took off on 28 March and all flights, save for flights for Rodrigues and exceptional repatriation flights, have been suspended until 30 April.

Financial support plan

Anticipating the economic impact of the novel coronavirus, especially on the tourism, trade, construction, and manufacturing sectors, the Government has announced a 10% reduction in its overall spending. Additionally, an initial financial support plan to the tune of Rs 9 billion has been approved to mitigate the adverse impacts of the crisis. An Implementation and Monitoring Committee comprising public and private sector representatives will ensure its effective implementation.

Various fiscal and monetary measures are being made available to economic operators at the macroeconomic and cross-sectoral level. All work permits expiring this year will be automatically extended to 31 December 2021. A Work at Home Scheme will be promoted and an e-Government Digital Bureau will be set up to minimise human contact.

On the tourism front, the passenger fee on air tickets will be suspended up to 31 July 2020 for visitors from Reunion, Australia, and South Africa.

With regard to the exports sector, the Freight Rebate Scheme will be extended for exports to South Africa and Tamatave and that the Speed-to-Market Scheme will also include exports of manufactured goods to Africa, Japan, Australia, Canada and the Middle East up to 31 December 2020. Moreover, an amount of Rs 100 million has been earmarked to encourage local production of food crops.

In an effort to contain the impact of the virus, special arrangements have also been made for students and motor vehicle owners.

Solidarity at all levels

Although the full impacts of the pandemic are still unknown, they will manifest in different ways. In the meantime, people and organisations from all fields and all levels are coming together to get through the crisis and prepare for an eventual recovery.

Public health and the economy, especially our tourism industry, commodity prices, trade, investment and finance flows are likely to take a heavy blow. Joining in the national effort to tackle the crisis, Business Mauritius therefore continues to work closely on different front with the authorities and other relevant stakeholders and has set up six response committees on health, economic recovery, cross-border logistics, food, necessary supplies and energy, human resources as well as communication, with the participation of both the ENL and Rogers Groups.

With the temporary shutting down of hotels, most operators in the sector, including Veranda Hospitality & Leisure and Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels have allowed the use of their properties for quarantine purposes. A number of initiatives have been put in place on various scales, such as the setting up of #myENL COVID-19 Solidarity Fund by the ENL Group, leveraging the expertise of specialists from various industries, like Plastinax Austral and FedEx/TNT, the distribution of food supplies to the needy by ENL Foundation and the Moka’mwad collective, fundraisers like the “Ansam anou ed nou bann vwazin!” (Together, let’s lend a hand to our neighbours) campaign, to name but a few.

Most importantly, the country continues to closely monitor the situation and is leaving no stone unturned in order to take such additional measures as may be necessary in the light of the evolution of the disease.

CategoriesDid you know? Editor's Picks

Mauritius, an island that’s connected in every way

Mauritius is known as the “Star and Key of the Indian Ocean” because of its strategic location on the maritime spice route. Located between Asia and Africa, the island has evolved into an international financial hub of excellence. With flights coming in from almost all over the world, various mediums of inland transportation and good internet services, this little Indian Ocean gem is indeed very well connected to the rest of Africa, Asia, the Middle-East and major cities of Europe.

By air

In Mauritius, traveling to and from other countries is as easy as 1,2,3. Although the island’s only a dot on the world map, we enjoy direct flights on a daily basis to a wide range of major destinations such as London, Dubai, Cape Town, Perth, Paris, Mumbai, Hong Kong and so much more. The airport (awarded best in Africa several times) is situated on the south-eastern coast of the island, about 45km from the capital city. The island is now operated by more than 20 airlines namely: Air Mauritius, Air France, Emirates, Corsair, Turkish Airline, Lufthansa, British Airways, Austrian Airline, KLM, just to name a few… Mauritius has also signed a Bilateral Air Services Agreement with Australia to facilitate traveling between the two countries. The arrival of new airlines in Mauritius and the increase in seat capacity of existing airlines such as Emirates and SAA have opened air access and thus contributes to the island’s accessibility.

By road

The road structure in Mauritius is suitable for all types of vehicles. With side roads and motorways, the island has many link roads from the North to the South and East to West, interlinks and small roads in every corner.

Road congestion is undeniably a worldwide issue that we all have to face on a daily basis, especially during rush hours. Fortunately, in Mauritius multiple plans were put in place to facilitate the flow of traffic. The “Live Work Play” concept has also been designed in smart cities to enable residents to live in a sustainably developed environment. This concept has also contributed to reducing traffic.

With the aim of improving our daily commute from the island’s highest populated towns, the following projects are currently under development:

  • The Metro Express – a 26 km light trail transit system with 19 stations, which is one of the most significant transport infrastructures ever developed in Mauritius. Its aim is to improve mobility between Curepipe and Port Louis, a major gateway that serves the fastest growing areas in Mauritius.
  • The construction of a new road at Sorèze, connecting A1 road to M1 Motorway. This will create an alternative route from Beau-Bassin, Rose-Hill and Coromandel to Port-Louis and hence facilitate the distribution of traffic.
  • Moka Smart City is also working on sustainable mobility solutions through the “Smart City Mobility Challenge”. As a result, a variety of themes have been assessed, such as connectivity between different neighbourhoods (both the existing ones and the ones under construction), improving public transport as well as developing a more innovative and citizen-centric approach.
  • One of the most congested roads in Mauritius is the Motorway M1. To alleviate traffic congestion in this area, a new flyover at Pont-Fer-Phoenix is currently under construction with three new grade separated junctions at three roundabouts: Jumbo Phoenix, Pont-Fer and Dowlut.
  • The construction of an interchange at Hillcrest is another project aiming at decongesting the M1 Motorway from and to Quatre-Bornes, St Jean and Trianon regions.

On the net

A pioneer in Africa, Mauritius was one of first countries in Africa to offer wireless internet at affordable rates, making it accessible to the majority of the population. Like in most first world countries, the internet has become a commodity in Mauritian households and is also the backbone of most businesses on the island. With high speed internet, optic fibre and 4G coverage over most of the island, residents can connect very easily with their friends and families nationally and internationally. Every year, there are international awards in the telecommunications, media and new technologies sector. In 2017, Mauritius Telecom, one of Mauritius’ leading telecommunications companies, won the “Best Network Improvement in Africa 2017 Award” for providing optic fibre coverage over 100% of Mauritius.

With all these world-class facilities, Mauritius is indeed well connected!

CategoriesDid you know? Editor's Picks Local Touch Things to do

Maha Shivaratri in Mauritius – A festival for all

Ganga Talao, "Grand Bassin"

Everyone can walk to Ganga Talao, the sacred crater Lake in Mauritius. Many streets are lined with people offering food and drinks, religious music permeates the air. I was in my car today, slowly moving behind gorgeous kanwars, and a lovely woman came and gave me a ti puri, a deep-fried kind of flatbread with curried Lima beans. She really didn’t have to do this – it was obvious that I was a) not heading to Grand Bassin b) not a pilgrim, and so technically I didn’t need the nutrition.

That, of course, isn’t the point: many families have saved up for months and months in order to give so freely. In many respects, this overwhelming kindness is the essence of this week of festivities.

Maha Shivaratri


Maha Shivaratri (Sanskrit: The Great Night of Shiva) is one of the most important religious festivals of the year – the most important for devotees of the Hindu god.

Shiva is one of the main deities of Hinduism, and is represented in multitudinous forms: the cosmic dancer, the ascetic, the master of fertility, master of both poison and medicine (through his ambivalent power over snakes). In temples and private shrines, Shiva is also worshipped in the form of the lingam, a votary object that symbolises the God and is revered as an emblem of generative power.

During the festival, Hindus remember and meditate upon Shiva, his ethics and virtues – self-restraint, forgiveness, self-restraint, honesty, social harmony amongst others.

Approximately 300,000 to 400,000 pilgrims walk to Ganga Talao every year. Apparently, the lake’s name literally means ‘Lake of Ganga’, where ‘Ganga’ refers to the Ganges river. A legend says that, while Shiva was carrying the river Ganges on his head, he spilled a few drops of the water – and this water created Ganga Talao. At the lake, devotees pay their respects and pour holy water and offerings over shrines.

Om Namah Shivaya, the chant

My friend Kounal tells me that: “On the occasion of Maha Shivaratri, devotees prepare themselves to worship lord Shiva and offer them prayers and chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ all night long (during what we call a ‘char pahar’ in four rounds).”


You cannot be indifferent to the kanwars: these are the structures that pilgrims carry to the lake. They are a visual feast, and are sometimes truly spectacular in size and creativity. Once your eyes turn away from the structures to the people holding and carting them along, your admiration turns to awe.

To lift kanwars for kilometres at a time, under this tropical sun and hilly terrain – these are feats that are almost surreal. Kanwars are heavy: I’ve seen creative types come up with elephants, serpents (as seen below), Gods spouting fountains from their mouths. The pilgrims walk, sleep on the ground in specially designed shelters, then pick up their kanwars and start again. They reach the sacred lake, pray and give thanks, and then do the same journey all over again to their homes, where they observe a fast and a night vigil. The following day, everyone rests.

Indeed Mauritius is a multicultural society where we have different ethnicities live  in peace, harmony and stability.

Pious Maha Shivaratri to everyone!

CategoriesEditor's Picks Real Estate

Home automation: Smart solutions for smart living

In this hyperconnected world, the integration of technology into everyday objects improves the comfort and safety of our homes while helping save money.

Who wouldn’t want to live in a smart home? A connected home that has the flexibly to adapt to the lifestyle of its occupants from wake-up to bedtime? One that you can control single-handedly, that anticipates your habits, ensures your safety, protects your belongings and even generates savings?

Home automation brings cutting-edge technology to your home. It uses sensors, actuators and controllers connected to a central unit to allow you to manage your home from anywhere at all times.


This concept adds an extra dimension to your peace of mind, especially when it comes to monitoring and protecting your home. You can remotely manage your security system and know what’s going on in real time on your mobile device. You are also immediately notified in case of problem to avoid any unpleasant surprises when you return home.

Remote control

There is a variety of comprehensive solutions that enable you to easily control your lighting and other household appliances from anywhere in the world. For example, you can adjust light intensity, switch lights on or off, set the temperature of your air conditioning system or refrigerator, manage the opening or closing of your electric shutters, or even turn on other appliances. It only takes a mouse click or a finger swipe across the touch screen of your tablet or smartphone!

Savings and positive environmental impact

Moreover, you can take control of your power bill through smart management and monitoring of all these systems. With home automation, you will save big on your energy consumption while making an effective contribution to environment protection.

Personalised entertainment

Home automation also creates pleasant moments of relaxation and entertainment. It helps enhance and personalise your experience: you can wake up to your favourite music or radio and continue listening in the shower or in the kitchen, and fully enjoy your TV, gaming console and laptop, among others.

Helvetia’s home automation packages

Besides making your living space smart and adding convenience to your daily routine, such solutions are likely to raise the value of your property and stimulate greater interest in potential buyers. Additionally, home automation can earn you a better return on investment on resale.

CategoriesDid you know? Editor's Picks Local Touch

The North of Mauritius, a foodies’ paradise

The North of Mauritius is a garden of culinary delights with many different restaurants and bars serving everything from local and international specialities to fusion menus! They surely add to the number of good reasons to hang out in the area.

Food with a seaside vibe

Is it aperitif time yet? You don’t have to go to Paris to sip a refreshing drink on a rooftop. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the lagoon from Mystik Life Style’s terrace in Trou aux Biches while snacking on some delicious samosas.

The Beach House’s terrace in Grand Baie is definitely the place for those looking for a cosier atmosphere with a British touch. Treat yourself to a glass of sparkling wine and a selection of gajak, facing the beautiful turquoise sea.

Rich flavours from around the world

It’s almost lunchtime! Ti Kouloir in Grand Baie is the perfect place to grab a typical Mauritian meal.Their dumplings are a standout – originally a Chinese dish, they are now deeply rooted into the island’s food culture. Try a mix of all varieties… served on their own or in a soup.

And if you have a penchant for vegan meals, you should totally head to Eat With Fingers in Grand Baie for a feast of colours and exotic flavours. The original blends and bright displays are a pleasure for both the eyes and taste buds.

Looking for an exclusive romantic spot? Stop by the beach at Trou aux Biches for a meal at Le Pescatore, which is well-known for its delectable seafood. Take a bite of its refined food watching the beautiful sunset… a true lovers’ paradise.

Delicate and lavish experiences

Dreaming of enjoying a meal in a wonderful garden dotted with century-old trees? We found the picture-perfect destination for you! Housed in the former administrative building next to L’Aventure du Sucre museum, the tables at Le Fangourin are displayed on a terrace overlooking the garden. In addition to its fine and fancy dishes, you can sweeten your coffee with a choice of unrefined brown sugars like the light demerara or the brown or molasses-flavoured muscovado.

Eating while enjoying a throwback to the colonial era is an exclusive experience offered by La Demeure Saint Antoine. Founded in 1830 by Edmond de Chazal, it is part of Mauritius’ heritage. Soak up the gentle pleasures of life in a peaceful setting during a meal, a romantic evening or a magical weekend.

Nestled in the heart of the stunning Domaine de Labourdonnais in Mapou, La Table du Château is undoubtedly the ultimate foodies’ destination. You can indulge in Mauritian specialities with a gourmet twist by the Chef Fabio de Poli.

The North of Mauritius is undoubtedly packed full of choice for lovers, history enthusiasts or friends looking for a good meal; the perfect destination to indulge your culinary senses.

CategoriesDid you know? Editor's Picks Local Touch

8 tips for a festive Christmas celebration

December is our favourite month of the year in Mauritius. It’s a time for celebration with Christmas food, New Year’s Eve and summer festivals of all sorts! However, the festive season often goes hand in hand with overspending on shopping and excess consumption. In a world where awareness of our environmental impact is expanding, here are a few ideas for a guiltless holiday season filled with joy and love!

1) Gifts

Admit it, you are a little bit tired of receiving yet another T-shirt that you will be hiding in your wardrobe the whole year before giving it away or selling it. So let’s break the vicious circle of giving and receiving useless gifts and go for non-material ones instead. Treat your loved ones to experiences that will allow them to share some good times and create some fond memories. There is plenty of choice to please them with guided quad and mountain biking tours and walks, pampering spa packages, gourmet meals, cooking classes and so much more!

Here are some of our picks:
Sunset Spa
Heritage Nature Reserve
Seeloy Island Club
Taste Buddies
My Moris
Explore nou zil
JPH Charters
Smile Box

2/ ...or go local

If you really want to offer a material gift, go for Made-in-Mauritius products! As early as November, there is a large number of Christmas markets in Mauritius where you will find the best local handicraft. Here is just a sample of recurring events that come back every year: Les Allées d’Helvetia in Moka, the Christmas Village at Bagatelle Mall, Vanilla Village in Black River, Domaine de Labourdonnais in Mapou and Domaine des Aubineaux in Curepipe.

3/ Use recycled packaging...

With regard to wrapping gifts, why not recycle used paper such as newspapers, magazines and kraft paper and customise them into some great Christmas packaging!

4/ ...or use Furoshiki wrapping cloths

You can also try the Japanese Furoshiki technique, an easy to make and beautiful cloth wrapping that will become part of the gift! All you need is a square cloth and a tutorial to impress your guests.

5/ Say no to plastic tableware

There is nothing worse than single-use disposable plastic that will take 450 years to decompose! Here are two alternatives to plastic products: you can rent tableware when the meal is served in a house. If you can’t do otherwise, buy plates made out of natural materials such as palm fronds and sugarcane fibre and metal or bamboo straws (available from Good Old Thyme, Mascatrans or Le Marchand).

6/ Eat local

You may also go for local foods to reduce your carbon footprint. For a light and delicious entrée, why not consider palm heart, served boiled or in a salad with dressing! You can also enjoy a nice dish with fresh fish of the day caught by villagers. And get some local fruit for dessert – this is the perfect season for mangoes, lychees and watermelons! Put them together in a salad, sorbet (here’s a good address: Gourmet Pops) or pavlova!

7/ Make your recycled Christmas tree

If a Christmas tree and table decoration are a must, we have the solution for you! Whether artificial or natural, Christmas trees are not the most eco-friendly option. So why not invite other family members to contribute to creating a zero-waste tree with recycled wood, cardboard and branches.

For your Christmas or New Year’s Eve dinner table, use natural materials and greenery for a very minimalist yet trendy look. A few pine cones, boxwood and fir branches, candles and wood are enough to give your table a festive touch!

It might be hard to change your lifelong habits; it also requires a little more organisation. But it’s so much more rewarding! There’s only one rule to apply: don’t put too much pressure on yourself, set your own pace and change your habits one at a time…

CategoriesEditor's Picks Local Touch Things to do

Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open: A Golf Tournament in Paradise

The fifth edition of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open will be held from 5th to 8th December 2019 at the stunning Heritage Golf Club. Some amazing feats coming up…

Remarkable Profusion

Described as “the most beautiful golf tournament” by the World Golf Awards, the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open has become a prominent fixture on the international golf calendar. It is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year and is part of the official events on the Order of Merit of the Sunshine, European and Asian Tours. One hundred and fifty-six international professionals competing over 72 holes in a three-day tournament. A total prize money of €1,000,000 to be won! The American, Kurt Kitayama took home last year’s title with a total of 268 shots.

As usual, this year’s tournament will feature a host of international players, including Paul Lawrie from Scotland, winner of the Claret Jug, who scored 10 shots in the finals of the 1999’s Open at Carnoustie as well as Thomas Pieters and Nicolas Colsaerts from Belgium, who have both marked the history of the Ryder Cup. Edoardo Molinari from Italy, the Indian star, Shubhankar Sharma and Benjamin Hebert will also play in the tournament.

The competition will additionally feature Matthias Schmid from Germany and Pierre Pellegrin from Mauritius. Schmid, 21, won the European Amateur Championship at the Diamond Country Club in Austria in June. Pellegrin scooped the Rogers Indian Ocean Amateur Golf Open held at Heritage Golf Club in October 2019.

Green-Tournament, Green-Eden

Many professionals now consider Mauritius as the ultimate destination for a mid-season break, with the opportunity to experience the thrill of playing at Heritage Golf Club. In September 2020, the estate will open a second championship course, designed jointly by Peter Matkovich and Louis Oosthuizen. This development will further enhance the island’s status as an essential destination for golf enthusiasts.

All players strongly believe this place is the epitome of golf in paradise. Heritage Golf Club was voted “Indian Ocean’s Best Golf Course” for the sixth time at the 2019 World Golf Awards ceremony on 29th October in Abu Dhabi. With the breathtaking panoramic view of Bel Ombre, pristine forests in the heart of the mountains and a lush 2,500-hectare property overlooking the landscape, the prestigious Heritage Golf Club is undeniably an enchanting place.

Heritage Resorts will be fully eco-friendly this year as the whole organisation has been carefully designed to protect the planet. Various sustainable initiatives have been added to the site’s natural scenery. A list of the 10 best green practices for golfers is included in the tournament guide. To reduce plastic waste, a tent with a Live Cooking concept will be set up. Plastic bottles will be thrown in fish bins and emphasis will be placed on the use of bamboo cutlery. Players will be transported using electric Jaguars.

Living in Mauritius has become a real year-round opportunity for golf lovers… an opportunity to indulge in a heavenly and exquisite atmosphere in the middle of the mightiest golf courses in the Indian Ocean and experience an unparalleled lifestyle.

CategoriesDid you know? Editor's Picks Real Estate

What is the role of a notary in property acquisition?

1. What is the role of a notary in property acquisition?

A notary is a legal practitioner whose intervention is required in property transactions. It is therefore a necessary step to buy a house, land, apartment or any property right (usufruct, leasehold rights, or through a corporation).

We will see the need for this obligation if we examine the rationale behind it.

The notary is the only legal professional to hold a delegation of power from the State, and is defined by law as a “judicial officer”. This State power allows him/her to confer the character of authenticity to his/her deeds. An authentic deed has two main characteristics: conclusiveness and enforceability.

Conclusiveness means that your deed of property purchase drawn up by a notary provides definite proof of your ownership of the property. Nobody can undermine this right (except in rare and extreme cases of fraud).

Enforceability is especially important. As stated by a former Chairman of the Conseil Supérieur du Notariat, a notarial deed “has the effects of a judgment and shall have immediate effect.” This is a significant difference compared to private agreements (without the involvement of a notary), which must be the subject to a court’s decision to have full effect in the event of a dispute.

In addition, the notary is appointed by the State to collect the land transfer tax, registration duty and various stamp duties, and remit them to the Registrar-General’s Department – Conservator of Mortgages on registration of a deed of sale.

However, seeking the services of a notary is not just an obligation. His/her involvement is especially useful for both the seller and buyer.

The notary actually has a duty to advise his clients. He/she will first explain to both the seller and buyer the implications of the provisions of the contract that they are about to sign (this is called the “reading” of the deed), and ensure that they understand the extent of their commitments.

The notary also has a duty to ensure the effectiveness of the deeds. In the case of a sale, he/she verifies that the seller effectively has a property right that can be freely transferred to the buyer. Among other things, he/she will make sure that there is no mortgage (or fixed and floating charges) on the property for sale.

As a judicial officer, the notary has a duty of impartiality. This makes him/her an essential trusted third-party to a sale. Without the notary, the seller would refuse to sign closing documents until he/she gets paid and the buyer would refuse to pay until he/she obtains ownership of the property. The notary allows the parties to resolve this dilemma by guaranteeing the seller that the buyer has the necessary funds in his/her client account, and assure the buyer that the funds will only be disbursed on actual transfer of the property.

2. How to choose a notary?

It is important to note that the principle of free choice of notary by clients is enshrined in the Code of Ethics for the Notarial Profession.

As an exception to this principle, a property developer may appoint a single notary for initial sales within the development, and this notary must draft all relevant deeds. But even in this case, buyers can also seek advice from the notary of their choice, in addition to the involvement of the notary engaged by the property programme (who remains in any case bound by a duty of impartiality).

From a legal perspective, all notaries are equal and the same. In practice however, the following factors will determine the choice of a notary by a client: the fact that he/she has specific experience or specialisation in a particular field (succession, corporate, complex sales, etc.).

It is also very common for a notary to recommend the services of a colleague to a client.

Finally, the choice will be based on personal affinities. Keep in mind that the client may give confidential information the notary, subject to the professional secrecy of notaries (the existence of natural children, the intention to transfer an asset to someone outside the family, etc.). The client must therefore have confidence not only in the professional, but also the person of the notary.

3. Please explain the different “administrative” steps involved in property acquisition?

The first step may seem obvious, but tends to be omitted by many people: it is simply to visit the property in order to make sure that it physically meets the buyer’s expectations.

Secondly, the property’s documentation (seller’s title deed, co-ownership regulations, etc.) must be filed with the notary for the necessary verifications. The notary will check that the seller can freely sell his/her property, and inform the buyer of any identified obstacle or legal risk – usually a mortgage on the property.

Thirdly, the seller and buyer will sign a sale agreement at the notary’s office. All parties commit themselves to the future sale, but only subject to certain conditions, called “conditions precedent”. For example, the buyer undertakes to buy the property on condition that the seller’s bank removes the mortgage held on the property. Alternatively, the seller undertakes to sell, provided that he/she holds a property subdivision permit. There are various scenarios, and the notary must adapt the wording of the agreement to the specific circumstances of the transaction.

Various formalities will be completed in the period between the signing of the agreement and the effective sale date. The buyer will make funding arrangements with a bank, and will in any case have to demonstrate the source of funds to the notary with regard to anti-money laundering legislation. The seller shall have an updated site plan drawn up with a PIN certificate, have the property released from any mortgage and apply for the necessary permits (subdivision permit, property conversion, managing agent’s certificate, etc.).

On the day of the sale at the notary’s office, the buyer and seller must sign the deed of sale – often at the same time, but they can also sign the document at different times or dates, the notary being there to ensure their free consent after the reading of the deed. Both the seller and buyer must also pay the notary the registration fees and transfer taxes as provided under the law (generally at the rate of 5% for each party).

Finally, the notary must file the signed deed for registration with the Land and Mortgage Registry – Registrar-General’s Department and for taxing purposes. He/she will pay the duties and taxes on behalf of the clients and obtain a TV number to make the sale binding on third parties, i.e. the buyer becomes the legitimate owner of the property vis-à-vis the public.

It’s then that notaries who have adopted French practice will release the funds to the seller in order to minimise any risk to the buyer. Others may choose to disburse the funds before actual registration of the deed.

4. What are the sales costs or “notary fees”?

These are mainly the duties and taxes to be paid to the State on all property transactions.

The seller pays land transfer tax representing 5% of the selling price on the sale of freehold property (which may be adjusted upwards if the authorities consider that it is lower than the market price). The same rate applies for registration fees payable by the buyer.

In case of sale of property situated on Pas Géométriques (reserved lands along the coast), an additional tax representing 20% of the value of the right to the lease is split equally between the seller and buyer.

The notary’s fees are based on a sliding scale ranging from 2% to 0.5% of the selling price as set out in the Notaries Act. Practically speaking, the rate is around 0.7% for sale value exceeding Rs 5 million.

5. Can you explain the following terms?

  • Sales agreement

The sales agreement, also called a bilateral promise of sale, is a mutual commitment to sell and buy at an agreed price. The seller promises to sell and the buyer promises to buy.

The main advantage of this type of contract is that it comes closest to the will of the parties in most cases; it is regarded as a “quasi sale”. Sellers and buyers who are ready to sign a sales agreement indeed firmly intend to sell and buy, but are unable to reach a final agreement for reasons beyond their control: release of a mortgage, a pending permit, an application for funding, etc. The signature of a sales agreement usually involves the payment of 5% to 15% of the price in escrow with the notary as a security deposit, evidencing the buyer’s firm intention to purchase the property.

The bilateral promise of sale – the sales agreement – will make the sale mutually binding upon the seller and buyer once the conditions precedent are met.

In the event that the buyer refuses to sign the deed of purchase after these conditions are met, the seller may either appropriate the deposit or bring an enforcement action to compel the buyer to fulfil his/her obligation to purchase.

On the other hand, if the seller refuses to execute the notarial deed of sale, the buyer may also take legal enforcement action.

  • Unilateral promise to sell

Only the seller undertakes to sell a property in this type of contract. This commitment holds for a specified period. The buyer simply reserves the right to buy: he/she makes a purchase option, which he/she is free to exercise or not. Naturally, the price of the property is set in the agreement.

On expiry of the validity period of the promise, provided that the conditions precedent are met, the buyer can either exercise his/her right to purchase or abstain from buying.

Please note that in most cases, there will be costs involved with this purchase waiver. If the seller has taken care of requesting payment of a deposit by the buyer in exchange for the option, then failure by the buyer to exercise that right will result in the loss of the amount in favour of the seller.

However, the seller won’t be able to take an enforcement action to compel the buyer to sign the deed of purchase before a notary.

On the other hand, once the buyer has exercised his/her purchase option, he/she may obtain a court decision compelling the seller to sign the notarial deed of sale in the event that the latter refuses to honour his/her promise to sell.

  • Preliminary reservation contract

The preliminary reservation contract – known as “CRP” – is a special type of prior commitment. It is used for the sale of buildings to be constructed, i.e. mainly off-plan property programmes sold under Vente en l’Etat Futur d’Achèvement (VEFA). The prospective buyer of a lot promises to buy if all the conditions are met by the project developer. On the other hand, if the developer decides not to proceed with his/her project, he/she can disengage himself/herself from his commitments to the prospective buyer.

It should be noted that Mauritian legislation is highly protective of buyers in terms of residential property sale under VEFA. The CRP must therefore contain various mandatory provisions in order to perfectly inform the prospective off-plan property buyer about its future characteristics.

The CRP must therefore be clear about:

  • the identification of the parties (developer and future buyer);
  • the accurate description of the property to be constructed (location, number of rooms, parking spaces, swimming pool, etc.) and the development;
  • a detailed description of the lot’s pieces of equipment and finishing ( called the “descriptive note”) – for example, the developer not only has to state that he/she will provide kitchen equipment, but also specify the make, performance and references;
  • the estimated selling price of the lot and terms of payment;
  • any loans that the prospective buyer wishes to apply for;
  • the security deposit amount (capped at 25% of the price) that the prospective buyer must pay in escrow with the property programme’s notary or bank to pledge his/her intention to definitely purchase;
  • the obligation for the developer to obtain a guarantee of completion (GFA) before closing the sale;
  • the estimated date of signature of the notarial deed of sale;
  • the expected timeframe to complete construction work on the property development and lot; and
  • a reminder of the provisions set forth in the Civil Code, which in certain circumstances allow the purchaser to recover his/her security deposit and be released from his/her obligation to purchase: for example, if the development does not materialise or if the lot that will actually be built is substantially different from the one initially promised, or if the purchaser fails to obtain a loan that he/she had specifically mentioned in the CRP.

Please note that unlike in France, there is no withdrawal period in Mauritius. Once the CRP has been signed, the parties are bound by its terms. A party cannot change his/her mind and cancel the CRP within 7 or 10 days of signing (failing which he/she will lose his/her security deposit).

CategoriesEditor's Picks Things to do

Moka, an active city

Sport has been a major focus in Moka for a long time. The smart city offers residents a broad range of opportunities to enhance their work-life balance through participating in sporting activities in a safe and appealing environment. From tennis courts and a swimming pool to archery, karate and indoor soccer, everything you need is within reach – as well as top-notch sporting events.

Moka Trail, a must for trail enthusiasts

The 7th edition of the Moka Trail was held on 5 October 2019. This event launched in 2013 has become an essential activity for all trail lovers. Despite the rainy weather, there was a friendly atmosphere; participants were twice as cheerful as last year, showing greater solidarity and sportsmanship.

Racing to the power of 7

For this seventh year, the distances for all four races, including two new ones, were in multiples of 7. In addition to the Petit Both (14km) and Grand Pouce (28km), there were the Deux Mamelles (7km) and Kids Fun Run (3.5 km). That race for children aged 6 to 11 gave families looking for some quality time together the opportunity to take a wonderful stroll together.

The Moka Trail is a growing success attracting an increasing number of enthusiasts every year. This year’s edition set a new record of 2,325 participants. This event is a chance to live a unique experience along beautiful trails amid breathtaking scenery in the heart of the island.

An unforgettable experience

For this seventh year, the distances for all four races, including two new ones, were in multiples of 7. In addition to the Petit Both (14km) and Grand Pouce (28km), there were the Deux Mamelles (7km) and Kids Fun Run (3.5 km). That race for children aged 6 to 11 gave families looking for some quality time together the opportunity to take a wonderful stroll together.

The Moka Trail is a growing success attracting an increasing number of enthusiasts every year. This year’s edition set a new record of 2,325 participants. This event is a chance to live a unique experience along beautiful trails amid breathtaking scenery in the heart of the island.

All participants were rewarded with a free sports session and health check-up at Synergy Sport & Wellness Institute to encourage them to take part in regular sports activities, which make an important contribution to Moka Smart City, developed by the ENL Group.

The Moka Trail powerfully embodies the city’s values through its warm and welcoming atmosphere as well as a focus on the environment. It is also an opportunity to challenge oneself amid a lush, beautiful landscape… that’s what the Moka Trail is all about!

CategoriesEditor's Picks Real Estate

Property Management: ensuring a harmonious environment

From the administration, management and upgrading of the premises to choosing the right service providers, supervising construction and implementing decisions taken during the general meeting, the missions of professional property managers are extensive… Investing in real-estate developments proposing the services of these professionals – such as La Balise Marina, Heritage Villas Valriche or Les Promenades d’Helvétia – is highly recommended. Below are some major advantages.

1) Management of common areas

Guaranteeing proper maintenance of the area is one of the first missions of a property manager. But how? “By looking after the maintenance and administration of the common areas,” we are told by Denis Le Blanc, the property manager at Sygeco. He explains: “All the property’s common areas should be well maintained”. The range extends from maintenance of the garden to electric gates, elevators, pipelines, lights, potable water supplies, just to name a few… When a need arises, the property manager chooses the best service provider to solve issues rapidly and effectively. As a result, homeowners do not have to deal with any hassle and thus can save time.

2) A better living environment

Renovating buildings, repairing roofs, installing CCTV, energy conservation upgrades… These changes, whether in terms of comfort, security or aesthetic, improve the daily life of co-owners. The work that needs to be done is voted for at the general assembly and then implemented. The role of a property manager is to request quotations, control expenses, supervise operations and ensure good workmanship.

3) Preserve property value

With this proficient and rigorous management, you can be sure that your property’s value will be enhanced. “This is more than a mere service, the main goal of a property manager is to advocate on behalf of each co-owner and maintain the property’s worth daily,” underlines Denis Le Blanc.

4) Prevention is better than cure

The financial and accounting operations of the co-ownership syndicate are both managed by the property managers, who also call back unwilling debtors. As part of the process, they review a wide range of quotes, select the best service provider, manage the operation from both a technical and financial point of view. Last but not least, they ensure that the co-ownership regulations are respected.

5) Having a contact person

Being the homeowners’ official representative in legal proceedings, the property manager can intervene in case of conflict, by restating the co-ownership regulations. “We play an important role as mediators and conciliators. Whenever a dispute arises between homeowners themselves or between a homeowner and the property manager, a fair and respectful solution is sought, in compliance with the co-ownership regulations and the Civil Code rules“, says Denis Le Blanc.

Legal Framework: What’s New?

The co-ownership syndicates’ law was amended last year by the Mauritian ParliamentThese changes were anticipated and are heading in the right direction since the Civil Code provisions had become irrelevant in today’s world. As a result, the property manager’s roles are now more professional. Moreover, the decision-making and deliberation’s rules have become more flexible, allowing a more collaborative and smoother management of co-ownerships, which is a win-win situation,” says Denis Le Blanc.