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.

19 September 2014

Municipal approvals delay property development

Municipal approvals delay property development

Some projects just no longer viable: some approvals take up to three years.

Huge contributions to bulk services and delays in municipal approvals seriously hamper commercial property development in South Africa, says Harry Gey van Pittius, chairperson of the South African Affordable Residential Developers Association (Saarda).

The association hopes to discuss the issue in the near future with Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Housing, but her mandate does not include local government, which makes it difficult for her to intervene, Gey van Pittius said.

Municipalities don’t have the necessary skills, especially engineers and building inspectors and decision-making has been centralised at political level, he says.

Sharemax complaints surge after Bam determination

Sharemax complaints surge after Bam determination

Sars applies for liquidation of Sharemax and termination of the business rescue process.

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) has applied for the liquidation of Sharemax Investments and for the business rescue proceedings of the company to be terminated.
This follows a lengthy tug of war since 2012 between Sars and the directors of Sharemax and the Nova Group of Companies for the payment of R15.7 million of outstanding taxes.
Sars filed the application in June 2014, as it does not foresee the company being able to pay the debt.
Sars names, amongst others, business practitioner Dawie van der Merwe, former Sharemax directors Willie Botha, André Brand, Dominique Haese, as well as Nova Property Group chairman Connie Myburgh as respondents.
In a strongly worded affidavit Elle-Sarah Rossato contends on behalf of Sars that that the sole reason for placing Sharemax Investments into business rescue was to abuse the mechanism prescribed by the Company’s Act not to pay creditors.
“The inescapable inference is that creditors of Sharemax Investments were misled with a promise that R40 million would be coming their way, whilst the controllers of the first respondent had already decided to abuse the Company’s Act business rescue provisions.”
The R40 million refers to the amount earmarked to be paid to Sharemax Investments shortly after the restructuring investments, and was to be used to pay creditors.

18 September 2014

Durban beachfront's largest property development takes shape

Durban beachfront's largest property development takes shape

A R1.8 billion expansion of Durban's landmark Suncoast Casino has been given the nod, clearing the way for a doubling of the existing complex.

An artist's impression of the beachfront facades.
The project by Tsogo Sun will be the biggest single investment in the history of the beachfront and will take three years to complete.

All the necessary regulatory approvals are in place, now allowing detailed planning.

This follows the company's R220 million upgrade of the relaunched Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani Hotels into one complex last year, with another R100m face-lift under way at the hospitality group's 33-year-old Marine Parade Garden Court.

The Suncoast expansion plan had to get the nod for an amendment to the casino licence conditions from the KZN Gaming and Betting Board - and the provincial government - as well as an amendment to the Integrated Development Plan for the precinct from the eThekwini Municipality

In terms of the application approved by the gaming board, Tsogo Sun will make R100m available to be spent on charitable or social infrastructural developments in the province.

A bird's eye view of the proposed project.
The attraction, which opened its doors almost 12 years ago, has 8million visitors a year and the expansion became necessary, as 'we have been at capacity for some time', said Mike Dowsley, the executive director of Suncoast Casino, Hotels and Entertainment, as it is now called.

Optimism rises with house building activity

Optimism rises with house building activity

A sharp rise in residential building activity has resulted in improved confidence in the industry in the third quarter.

The FNB/Bureau for Economic Research (BER) building confidence index released yesterday revealed that confidence in the industry had improved to 45 index points on a 100-point scale in the third quarter.

The index slumped 11 points to 41 in the second quarter after breaching the key 50-point mark in the first quarter.

John Loos, a property economist at FNB, said yesterday that although the index remained below the key 50 mark, it did suggest that conditions in the building sector had improved.

17 September 2014

Cape Town's waterfront celebrates 25 years

Cape Town's waterfront celebrates 25 years

Southern Africa's biggest tourist attraction - the V&A Waterfront - was three decades ago a 'far sighted' idea but as it celebrates its 25th anniversary, it has become a massive source of income and pleasure.

The V&A Waterfront viewed from the Cape Town Observation Wheel.

'The V&A Waterfront is a special place, where a centuries-old working harbour remains at the heart of a modern, cosmopolitan urban precinct. Built on layers of history and generations of Capetonians who have jealously treasured their links with the city's maritime heritage, the Waterfront has assumed a special place and significance in the hearts of our community,' V&A chief executive David Green said in the foreword a book entitled V&A Waterfront 25th Anniversary which is to be launched on Wednesday.

'What rental increase is fair?'

'What rental increase is fair?'

Many landlords want to know by what amounts and when they could increase the rentals on their properties.

These property owners would possibly prefer to automatically increase this each year (many use a standard rate of 10%) but the yearly increment does depend on various factors, and landlords need to understand what these are because not all increases can be passed on to the tenant, says Michael Bauer, managing director of IHPC estate agency.

Revamped Pretoria Church Square revealed

Revamped Pretoria Church Square revealed

Artists' impressions of the new-look Pretoria Church Square were revealed during a community liaison forum meeting yesterday.

Major roadworks and developments are under way on and around Church Square.
In future the square will boast more trees and pedestrian areas. There will also be new street furniture and the south wall's fountains will be restored to a working condition. The meeting was to update the public on the progress of the city's first bus rapid transit project.

16 September 2014

Listed property still offers opportunities

Listed property still offers opportunities

Despite higher bond yields and interest rates.

Over the past decade, the local listed property sector has experienced stellar average compounded growth in excess of 20%, but does the sector still have attractive longer-term return prospects in the face of higher bond yields and interest rates?

Ian Anderson, chief investment officer at Grindrod Asset Management, says the biggest driver of the excellent historic performance was the declining interest rate and yield environment.

“This meant investors were prepared to accept lower yields (i.e. pay higher prices) for their listed property investments,” Anderson says.

A secondary driver was the moderate increase in distribution growth the sector was able to produce, despite the weaker economic backdrop.

However, the sector’s performance during 2013 and in the early part of this year has been more subdued.

The table below highlights the total return of the listed property sector (Sapy index) over the last decade.

PeriodSapy total return
2014 YTD14.0%*
* As at September 9 2014

15 September 2014

South Africa`s strong case for green retrofitting

South Africa`s strong case for green retrofitting

Despite South Africa being the fastest growing green building market in the world, most buildings in the office sector do not comply with environmental sustainability standards. But there is a strong case for green retrofitting. 

While South Africa is only playing catch-up to its developed and developing counters, United States-based McGraw-Hill Construction in its World Green Building Trends survey notes that 58% of South African firms surveyed reported future green commercial retrofits by 2015.

Furthermore the survey, which tracks 62 countries pegs the country's take up of green building to grow three-fold, from a measured 16% in 2012 to 52% by 2015.

These figures put South Africa ahead of the pack for its fast adoption of green building - trumping Australia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Brazil - despite its foray into green building seven years ago. 

Pickvest: too late to lay a complaint with FAIS Ombud?

Pickvest : too late to lay a complaint with FAIS Ombud?

It may be too late for investors who bought property syndications from Pickvest (formerly PIC Syndications) to lay complaints with the FAIS Ombud.

PIC Syndications, now Pickvest, promoted property syndications worth approximately R5.3 billion. All outstanding syndications, worth R4.6 billion, are in business rescue and investors are once again complaining of late interest payments. In April 2013, Pickvest’s licence to render financial services was withdrawn by the Registrar of Financial Services Providers. Pickvest, which boasts around 18 000 investors (many of whom are pensioners) appealed the decision and this appeal was dismissed by the Registrar in February 2014.

Aussie more attractive for Growthpoint than SA

Aussie more attractive for Growthpoint than SA

The turbulent domestic market has prompted South African companies to look beyond the market for value in their investments.

The property sector has also joined the search for more offshore investments which provide greater diversification, exposure to a larger market and attractive valuations.

This trend is echoed more by South Africa’s largest listed JSE-listed property company, Growthpoint Properties which is finding the Australian market more appetising.

Growthpoint, best known for its portfolio of quality assets which include Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, is seeing limited assets in the local market.

'Legislation to limit foreign ownership of land is a blunt instrument'

'Legislation to limit foreign ownership of land is a blunt instrument'

There's no doubt that the timing of the announcement about the government's plans to limit foreign property ownership is bad, and has done nothing to improve investor sentiment or business confidence, says a property executive.

'What is worse, though, is that Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti has never really explained the thinking behind the proposed new land legislation in public, even though it has been on the cards since at least 2011, so we don't actually know whether the reaction it has engendered is too harsh - or perhaps not harsh enough,' says Berry Everitt, managing director of the Chas Everitt International property group.