About Me

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I am a qualified Attorney. I specialise in Property Law, Commercial Law, Corporate Law and Trusts.
 
Please visit our website at www.prop-law.co.za for more details.
 
I am an elected Committee Member of the Property Committee of the Association of Pretoria Attorneys and through my involvement, I like to ensure that I am constantly at the "sharp-end" of Conveyancing Practice.

I am the elected Chairman on the Gauteng Council of SAPOA. The South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) is the biggest and most influential institution in the property industry. SAPOA members control about 90% of commercial property in SA, with a combined portfolio in excess of R150 Billion (about $22 Billion). I am also on the National Council and the National Legal Committee of SAPOA.
 
Member of the Institute of Directors South Africa.

28 August 2014

SA market a `dog eat dog world`- Growthpoint CEO

SA market a `dog eat dog world`- Growthpoint CEO

The acquisition appetite of Growthpoint Properties over the last year is paying off; it declared an 8.3% distribution growth to 161.3 cents per share.

The largest JSE property company by market capitalisation (R59 billion) says the growth in distributions was boosted by the number of acquisitions during the financial year.

“The last 12 months was the busiest year since we started Growthpoint back in 2001. If you add all the investment activity and capital spend, you get to a number of R15 billion in investments,” explains Growthpoint CEO Norbert Sasse.

Some of the acquisitions during the financial period includes a R1.3 billion deal of 17 high office properties from Abseq Properties and the entire portfolio of Tiber for R5.7 billion.

In what is described as Growthpoint’s “ biggest investment”, it announced a stake bid in Acucap and Sycom of 34.9% and 23.2% respectively - a share swap deal worth  R4.5 billion.

“We refer to it as a strategic stake in that we felt we were a little bit short in our portfolio on the retail side and the Acucap and Sycom deal has quality retail properties,” he says.

27 August 2014

Pretoria hailed as 'shopping mecca'

OK - soooo ... things about your own city that you did not know.  We are a "shopping mecca"!

There are a lot of really nice malls but we are hardly Dubai.  Interesting that in the article, they claim the Mall of Africa for Pretoria, which is stretching reality a little in my opinion.

When considering the viability and sustainability of malls in Pretoria, I think that we should also look at the disasters of Villa Mall and Zambezi Mall to add balance to an otherwise "rosy picture".



Pretoria hailed as 'shopping mecca'

Development and investment in Pretoria's shopping and retail sector has given the city a surge in its economic status.

The rise in the number of shopping centres has put the city among the country's premier areas.

The city boasts no fewer than five of the province's most impressive malls, with Menlyn Park being the biggest, and at 118 253m carries the title of Super Regional Shopping Centre.

The exclusivity lease conundrum

The exclusivity lease conundrum


In a competitive retail environment, retailers at shopping centres such as Pick 'n Pay, Checkers and Shoprite continuously want to protect their turf through exclusivity clauses, but more counters are entering the fray.

While in most cases anchor retailers have leases which ensure them a competitive advantage among competitors, the exclusivity lease environment is changing.

22 August 2014

New property rental law to come into force

New property rental law to come into force



Some amendments to the Rental Housing Act will mean every property lease has to be in writing and correctly drafted says Andrew Schaefer of property management company Trafalgar.

'This alone is a major departure from the current act, which states that a lease only needs to be in writing if the tenant requires it. This has led to many thousands of tenants and landlords, especially in informal housing settlements, living without any sort of legal document stipulating what their respective rights and responsibilities may be.

'However, most landlords don't have the know-how to draft a compliant lease, nor the time to handle the many other administrative tasks imposed by the Rental Housing Act. These include issuing detailed receipts for every payment made by the tenant, the management of tenants' deposits and provision of proof of the interest earned on these deposits as well as receipts for damages repaired, and the organisation and documentation of inspections every time a tenant moves in or out.'

The Rental Housing Amendment Bill, to be enacted later this year, will make it mandatory for landlords to provide tenants and their households with safe, weatherproof accommodation of adequate size; to keep the property in a state of good repair and, where possible 'to facilitate the provision of utilities to the property'.

Schaefer says this clause is intended to prevent people letting backyard structures that violate regulations, but it also applies to landlords in the formal sector and holds the potential for serious disputes if their tenants and properties are not regularly monitored.

He says the new law will make it mandatory for local authorities to establish a rental housing information office, and for every province to establish a rental housing tribunal, as opposed to the current arrangement where this function is left to the provinces to decide.

'This will give many more landlords and tenants access to impartial advice and assistance when it comes to resolving disputes. This is in line with the Department of Human Settlements' stated objectives in introducing the new legislation, which is to create a 'fair and equitable' rental housing landscape for an estimated 2.5 million to three million households that rent their primary accommodation, and their landlords.

'But much as we applaud this objective, increased regulation of the rental property market will result in an increased administrative and managerial burden that will largely fall on landlords, and many more are likely to fall foul of the law as a result unless they engage professional assistance.'

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)

SA - the world’s fastest growing green building market

Worley Parsons Melrose Boulevard: Worley Parsons’s building at Melrose Boulevard has a four star rating.
Nearly eight years ago green building in South Africa was considered as a “right thing to do” for the environment. But more developers are heeding the call for sustainable building as they are becoming more mindful of economic benefits and the country is positioning itself as the fastest growing sustainable building country in the world.
Another six star green rating counter is Vodafone’s site solution innovation centre, located at the Vodacom campus in Midrand.

“Environmentally sustainable buildings”, “rain harvesting” and “off-the-grid innovations” have been bandied about for years, but are now gaining credibility.
The growth of green building in South Africa trumps that of established sustainability building regions such as Europe, Australia, United States, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Brazil.
This has been confirmed by United States-based McGraw-Hill Construction in its World Green Building Trends survey.
Located in Rosebank, Standard Bank’s head office is rated under the five green star rating category.

While South Africa is only playing catch-up to its developed and developing counters, the survey pegs the country’s take up of green building to grow three-fold, from a measured 16% in 2012 to 52% by 2015. A total of 60% of firms in the survey reported future green commercial developments by 2015, while retrofits came in at 58%.
“The future for green building is more concentrated in South Africa compared to other parts of the world…Notably, South Africa is one of the only countries with a high reported level of green activity in the residential marketplace,” McGraw-Hill Construction notes.
Nedbank headquarters in Sandton is rated under the four green star rating, considered to be in line with green best practice.

While green building in South Africa is still about the drive for companies to operate in “a more socially and environmentally responsible manner”, financial incentives are becoming realised, Neil Stuart-Findlay, portfolio manager of the Investec property equity fund.
“Businesses strive to operate more efficiently in a climate of sharp increases in operating expenses such as electricity and water. As these costs rise, businesses are looking for ways to contain their total cost of occupation,” explains Stuart-Findlay.
Artist impression of Pretoria’s mixed-use development, called “Africa’s first green city” is eyeing a four star green rating under the GBCSA’s rating system.

His sentiments are echoed by the survey which also notes that developers in South Africa are focusing on matters of bottom line, with the second motivation being natural resource conservation.
Beyond saving on operational costs, the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) says studies in the United States and Australia have shown higher returns on assets extending to rental rates in green buildings to be approximately “6% and 5% higher respectively.”
Group Five’s building in the mixed use development Waterfall City has a five star green rating.

“The drive towards greening initiatives is also about the competitiveness of what landlords are offering. If buildings are developed in a cost-effective manner, green buildings are likely to become an even more desirable offering, potentially driving stronger occupancy levels from tenants and hence higher rentals, over time,” adds Stuart-Findlay.
DSTV centre in Randburg: The DSTV centre in Randburg which is still under construction is graded as a five star green rating building.


Green star rated buildings
According to GBCSA programme manager Jo Anderson, there are 34 buildings rated in the four green star category, 13 in five star and three as six star. The buildings ranked comply with the criteria of using green and innovative technologies including; efficient energy and water use, waste disposal, the use of recyclable materials in construction, sustainable use of space and use of natural lighting.
The 30 654 square metre Department of Environmental Affairs building in Pretoria made the cut to achieve the prestigious six star rating – a category considered in line with international best practice.
“This the first government building in South Africa to achieve a six star Green Star South Africa rating and the first 6 star rated building in the City of Tshwane”. The building’s roof is covered with solar panels and rain harvesting system, catapulting the building to its green credentials.
The other two in this category are Cape Town’s No. 1 Silo at the V&A Waterfront and Midrand’s Vodafone site solution innovation centre.
Cape Town’s office development No.1 V&A Waterfront has been rated under the prestigious six star green rating.

The 18 723 square metre commercial office space No. 1 Silo achieved the rating for its water efficient fittings and fixtures, system which monitors energy and water use, lighting used when required and a storm water retention enabled roof.
The 458 square metre Vodafone site solution innovation centre, at the Vodacom campus in Midrand, ticks the appropriate checks for renewable energy use, water sustainability, appropriate material and technology used in the building’s design.
Artist impression of Alexander Forbes building in Sandton falls under the five star rating.
The five green star rating, has been awarded to, among others, Standard Bank’s head office in Rosebank, DSTV City in Randburg which is still under construction and Group Five’s head office within the Waterfall commercial business park.
The four star green rating, under the banner of “best practice” sees Sandton’s Alexander Forbes, Nedbank’s head office, Alice Lane Building 1, Worley Parsons building at Melrose Boulevard and more.
The 30 654 square metre Department of Environmental Affairs building in Pretoria is rated under the GBCSA six star green rating.


Developments in the pipeline
Anderson says the GBCSA has 62 certified green buildings with an additional 150 buildings in the pipeline for certification.
In four years’ time, Sandton will see the opening of Discovery’s new 87 000 square metre head office in excess of R2 billion. The developers of the building, a joint venture between Growthpoint Properties and Zenprop Property, will target a five star green rating. Growthpoint Properties office division director Rudolf Pienaar says the new Discovery head office will be one of the most environmentally sustainable and efficient buildings in Sandton. “It is also set to become a landmark on the Sandton skyline. Green building plays a key role in providing spaces in which businesses can thrive,” he says.

MONEYWEB

19 August 2014

South Africa has no business law specialist

I think that the Honourable Minister may be mis-informed!!!

If by some chance the Minister of Trade and Industry should come across my humble Blog, may I suggest that he visit my website for a brief indication as to what we do at Shepperson Attorneys. If Minister Davies has even more time available, he is most welcome to visit my office and we can discuss the business of Business Law.


Gareth Shepperson
Commercial and Property Attorney














South Africa has no business law specialist

South Africa has no specialised business law practitioners to deal with company law, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Tuesday.

Minister Rob Davies
"We don't have specialised lawyers, judges, and litigators to tackle business law," he said at a company law symposium in Johannesburg.

The symposium was examining, among other things, the Companies Act.

Davies said the act had brought real benefits for company registration.

"The law itself makes registration easier and quicker."

He was hopeful the symposium would afford those attending the opportunity to exchange views on company law, business rescue processes, and takeovers and mergers.

Among those present was former top US judge Myron Steele of the state of Delaware.

He spoke about takeovers, mergers, and fundamental transactions, and what could be done in anticipation of takeovers and mergers.

He gave an example of Delaware law, where a shareholder could put a stop to the sale of a company by approaching the courts if he or she was unhappy with certain aspects of the process.

MONEYWEB

25 July 2014

What is a billion rand between councillors?

Questions arise about the real cost of Tshwane’s new headquarters.

An Artist's impression of the future Tshwane House.

At a special council meeting on Wednesday, the City of Tshwane’s council approved the fast-tracking of the public private partnership (PPP) for the building of a new headquarter complex. But what this will cost ratepayers over the 25-year duration of the contract, is not at all clear.
Little clarity was given during the council meeting and there was also very little discussion, apart from an exchange of insults and bartering between the ruling ANC and opposition DA.
Deputy city manager Lindiwe Kwele could not on Thursday clarify the discrepancy between the mayor’s statement earlier this year putting the cost at R2 billion, the city website that put it at R3 billion and an independent expert who put it at R4.3 billion. She said the city will submit a report to National Treasury where an assessment will be done.
A report from Treasury will come back to council “and then we can have this discussion,” she said.
The PPP was approved in 2006 and the Tsela Tshweu consortium led by Group Five was appointed in April 2011. Financial close has however not been reached. According to the new fast-tracked timeline, the council aims to reach financial close by the end of next month.
The project entails the building of a 35 000m2 new headquarter complex on the same site where its predecessor Munitoria was demolished last year, as well as a 25-year operational phase. During that period the consortium will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the complex. At the end of the period the building is handed to Tshwane at no cost.

Demolition of the Old Munitoria.

Porsche buys Kyalami Race Track for record auction price

Porsche buys Kyalami Race Track for record auction price


Motorsport fans can breathe easy knowing that one of the most valuable pieces of land in Gauteng will carry on as a racing facility.

24 July 2014

Joburg architects, estate agents meet over planning delays

Joburg architects, estate agents meet over planning delays



Joburg's economic development and growth is being stunted by its own development planning department which is 'imploding'. This is what architects, estate agents and agents or runners who assist by going in to submit plans, claim.

They are so desperate and frustrated that they called an urgent meeting last week to discuss the way forward to get the city to speed up the approval of plans, site development plans and rezonings.

About 32 people attended, representing people who had daily dealings with the planning department.

Judge slates 'arrogant' municipality over property transfer ineptitude

... 'despite the ringing phrases of the constitution and the Constitutional Court, Canton Trading's requests were met with the inscrutable face of the bureaucratic sphinx'.

I like it!

Gareth Shepperson
Commercial and Property Attorney















Judge slates 'arrogant' municipality over property transfer ineptitude

If your municipality is messing you around, you might enjoy the comments made by a court this week when faced with evidence of outrageous bureaucratic inefficiency and arrogance.

It's a case that should lead to the sacking for uselessness of certain Buffalo City officials - though you would be a fool to put money on this happening.

Landmark office building underway in Sandton

If the City of Joburg is willing to continue to approve such projects, may I make one small request ... PLEASE update the infrastructure to accommodate the development.  In particular, please indulge me for a moment while I indulge in some venting about my pet-hate ... the M1 - GRAYSTON OFFRAMP.

There are awesome examples (just up the road) of how a little bit of planning (and a lot of expense) can greatly improve traffic flow.  Eliminating traffic flows in different directions having to criss-cross will alleviate a significant amount of suggestion.  The Allandale, Atterbury and Lynnwood offramps on the N1 are great examples.

Does anyone know of any plans for Grayston?

Gareth Shepperson
Commercial and Property Attorney














Landmark office building underway in Sandton

The new 86 993 sqm corporate headquarters being built for Discovery in Sandton at a cost of more than R2.5 billion is believed to be the largest single commercial office building in Africa.

The eight-storey building will have two wings plus a ground floor with nine basement levels providing 5 100 parking bays. It will serve as Discovery's hub for its growing international business that now has operations in South Africa, the US, the UK, Australia and Asia-Pacific.



It will also bring all of Discovery's more than 5 000 employees in four buildings in Sandton under one roof.

It is being developed on a site at the corner of Catherine Drive and Rivonia Road by a joint venture between listed Growthpoint Properties and Zenprop.

Earthworks on the site commenced in March and the construction of the basement levels is scheduled to start in October and the office levels in January 2016. Discovery is scheduled to take occupation of the building in January 2018. Its initial lease period is for 15 years with the option to renew.

James Tanneberger, the chief executive of Zenprop Property Holdings, said this week that this iconic building would be the largest single office development to take place in Africa.


22 July 2014

Joburg billing crisis deepens

Joburg billing crisis deepens

The billing crisis, which the City of Joburg has been claiming is largely over, is about to take a turn for the worse.

In a shock announcement his weekend, we learnt that city officials have been tampering with residents' meters to inflate bills, they have been deliberately overbilling and unilaterally, with no consent, rezoning properties for additional rates.