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 and Member of the Sirdar Governance Panel.

23 October 2013

Housing tribunals 'function unlawfully'

Housing tribunals 'function unlawfully'

Court rules regulate the conduct of the proceedings of the courts, as for example, in the case of a tenant or landlord seeking to take a ruling or judgment on appeal.

Where a party intends to appeal against the judgment of a court or to take on review an alleged irregularity, the party is entitled to a copy of the transcript, upon payment of the prescribed fees.

This is usually paid to an outsourced commercial company, such as Sneller Recordings. The transcript of the mechanical or digital recording of the proceedings must be certified as correct.

Rental Housing Tribunals do not have regulations as required by the Rental Housing Act 50 of 1999 as amended.

Joburg council says no to Gupta rezoning plan

Joburg council says no to Gupta rezoning plan

A request by the Gupta family for their property in Saxonwold, Joburg, to be rezoned has been declined, a councillor said yesterday.

Ward 117 councillor Tim Truluck said he received written notification yesterday that the city's town planning tribunal had declined the request. No reason was given.

Gupta family spokesman Gary Naidoo said he would respond to questions by e-mail.

Truluck said that if the Guptas wanted to reapply for rezoning, they could do so at a provincial level, or submit a new application to the City of Joburg that was more in line with municipal requirements. Residents could also look at the application.

City spokesman Gabu Tugwana said: 'We believe the Guptas have knowledge of why the rezoning was declined. Rather (than us), the family are at liberty to explain the reasons why.'

22 October 2013

Tshwane transformation to spare jacaranda trees

Tshwane transformation to spare jacaranda trees

Tshwane's central business district and transport system are undergoing major changes to transform the city into a modern capital, one that will also maintain its heritage like its famed jacaranda trees.


Jacaranda trees are in full bloom, lining many of the streets of Pretoria, and the beautiful purple blossoms are a huge tourist attraction.

Come October and the city's jacaranda trees are in full bloom, their blossoms forming a purple carpet on pavements and lawns.

Streets in the CBD like Minnaar and Johannes Ramokhoase are lined with jacaranda trees planted more than a century ago.

R800bn needed to clear housing backlog

R800bn needed to clear housing backlog

South Africa needs at least R800 billion - and a 'miracle' - to clear its current housing backlog of 2.1 million houses within the next seven years.

This is according to the Finance and Fiscal Commission (FFC), which released its report on 'alternative finance and policy options for effective and sustainable delivery of housing in South Africa' yesterday.

It also believes the current approach to housing delivery won't be sustainable.

The FFC's main responsibility is to make recommendations on the equitable division of revenue between the three spheres of government and provide advice to organs of state on financial matters.

The commission's head, Bongani Khumalo, said the housing sector faced many challenges.

They included the ever-increasing housing backlog and a decreasing number of low-cost houses being delivered by the government.

18 October 2013

Affordable housing is the place to be.

Arrowhead snaffles an opportunity in residential rentals.

Massive demand for quality rentals at affordable levels has motivated Arrowhead Properties (JSE:AWB) to step into the fray of residential property.


The listed property company may have only published a maiden annual report but its management team comprises property experts of long standing within the industry.  They have a reputation for diversification and high yields, while aiming to provide shareholders with sustainable revenue sources to support above average quarterly distributions.

Thus the acquisition of a residential property portfolio worth R406m earlier this week came as no surprise and follows Arrowhead’s JSE conversion to Real Investment Trust (REITS) in July. This also coincided with its cautionary announcement to shareholders of the acquisition, originally intended at R500m.

The pros and cons of a fixed bond rate

The pros and cons of a fixed bond rate

With the prime interest rate at a low that was last seen in the market over 30 years ago, many homeowners may be contemplating fixing the rate on their bond.

This is particularly appealing to homeowners who are risk averse and want a fixed amount that they can budget for each month, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

'Where a homeowner stands financially, along with their appetite for risk, will be the determining factors as to whether a homeowner chooses to fix their rate or opt for a variable or flexi rate. Homeowners who are at their budget's limit and cannot take the risk of an interest rate increase are probably more likely to opt for a fixed rate than those who have some breathing room in their budget.

The security of a fixed rate ensures that the homeowner will not have to deal with any unexpected changes and additions to their monthly expenses for a fixed period of time. However, that said, there are a few elements that a homeowner should think about before they decide to fix their rate,' says Goslett.

Gautrain plans many more routes

Gautrain plans many more routes

Seven new Gautrain routes are set to be built over the next 25 years, and they will stretch from Soweto to Tshwane East.



In other changes, Gautrain buses will be phased out, and more use made of branded taxis that will transport commuters to and from the new stations.

Gautrain Management Agency chief executive Jack van der Merwe said yesterday the first new route was planned from the Sandton station to Randburg, and would run mainly underground.

Construction is expected to start in the next four to five years.

Banks increasingly wary of property fraud

With regard to the first scam in the article, if you pay the deposit to a reputable Conveyancer (or a reputable Estate Agent), then the so-called "seller" will not have access to the funds until transfer in the Deeds Office, by which time the fraud should have been discovered.  The funds will also be insured.  Obviously, the more sophisticated scamster can use false ID's and other documents but the "seller" can't just take the money and run before some level of due diligence is completed.

My advice is that by retaining the services of REPUTABLE Estate Agents and Conveyancers, the risk is reduced to virtually zero.

Gareth Shepperson
Reputable Conveyancer


Banks increasingly wary of property fraud

'Banks need to perform more rigorous checks because various types of fraud have now become increasingly common in property sales,' says Bill Rawson of the Rawson Property Group.

'There have been cases where the seller in fact did not own the home and the true owner did not even know that his house was being sold by the trickster.'

In these situations, says Rawson, the crook, posing as the owner, ensures that the initial confirmatory deposit is paid into his pocket - and then disappears. In some cases far bigger sums - 50% or even 100% of the sales price - have been paid out and are completely lost to such unidentifiable fraudsters.

The bank, for their part acting in good faith, may well pay out the full sum to the so-called seller, only to find that they are left with a home that has to be repossessed and, if sold, is likely to fetch well below the market value - while the true owner is left with a huge legal complication.

In other cases, says Rawson, the true owner and buyer come to an agreement to raise the price of the house above its actual market value, thereby enabling the buyer to get a bigger bond. This, he says, has been especially prevalent when the buyer has wanted a 100% bond which the bank is not prepared to give him. Surprisingly, although the bank will usually send its own valuer to inspect the property, these people can on occasions be persuaded that the higher price is valid.

This becomes possible, says Rawson, because bank valuers often have to assess properties in a wide variety of areas and cannot be expected to be completely up-to-date with values in all of them.

Similar scams, says Rawson, take place every year in the rental market. A home - often a holiday home - will be advertised (perhaps in terminology too vague to pinpoint its exact whereabouts) and then the bogus agent or landlord will pocket the deposit or even the full rental when it is paid in advance of occupation.

'In order to make sure that you are never deceived when purchasing or renting a property,' said Rawson, 'always make sure that you use an agent from a well reputed agency that can be held accountable for their actions and who will make sure the seller is who they say they are.'

Rawson Press Release

Credit data amnesty 'will increase cost for borrowers'

Credit data amnesty 'will increase cost for borrowers'


Moody's Investors Service warns that the removal of adverse credit information from public records will have a negative impact on the rating of South African residential mortgage-backed securitisation and asset-backed securitisation transactions.

In a report released today, it advises that the removal 'will reduce the amount of information available to originators to assess the creditworthiness of new borrowers, and may impede responsible lending and borrowing practices, which will increase credit risk'.

The report was released in response to a cabinet statement issued last month, which said the cabinet 'approved the recommendations of the select committee on trade and international relations'. The committee's guidelines sought 'to address the issue of access to credit to those South Africans that can afford credit. These are consumers who may have paid their debts in full and are in a position to afford credit but whose access is currently impeded by negative credit information on their record.'

The government has not yet confirmed which of three options presented by the select committee will be implemented. The three options have been described as least risk, medium risk and high risk. The government has given the public until the end of this month to submit comments on the committee's proposal.

The Moody's report echoes warnings from banks, which have said that the absence of credit-related information would heighten the risk faced by lenders and would result in an increased cost to borrowers because of the increased risk.

Although the government's proposal is thought to be aimed at providing relief for the many consumers who have accessed 'unsecured lending facilities', Moody's highlights the fact that the proposed credit information amnesty will affect secured as well as unsecured lending activity.

It states that the ongoing removal of negative credit information from public records will reduce the incentive for existing borrowers to make good on their obligations.

According to the credit rating agency, borrowers' willingness to pay their obligations decreases when they expect that payment defaults will be removed from the credit bureau data that other financial institutions may access.

The rating agency says the new measure will add to previous limitations on information available to credit bureaus in South Africa and contrasts with improvements in the credit information being made available in other countries.

Andre du Plessis, the chief financial officer at Capitec Bank, which is a major player in the unsecured lending market, told Business Report yesterday that when the proposed information amnesty was implemented Capitec would still have access to sufficient information to be able to ensure continued prudent lending.

'Even if the amnesty is implemented there is still sufficient other information available from the credit bureaus to be able to predict the repayment behaviour of potential borrowers.'

Business Report

17 October 2013

'Overpricing still holding back sales'

'Overpricing still holding back sales'

Higher priced properties are still taking longer to sell - and showing bigger differentials between asking and selling prices.

Denis Quayle, owner of the four Harcourts Maynard Burgoyne real estate offices in Cape Town, says many sellers at the upper end of the property market are still clinging to price expectations that are out of step with market realities.

'Consumers are hard-pressed from all sides due to rising living costs - and even the higher income groups are very value conscious at the moment. On the other hand, some sellers have a skewed idea of what their properties are worth in the current market and are slow to take advice from experienced estate agents on market-related asking prices,' he says.

'Unfortunately, their determination to achieve certain asking prices often comes at a high cost, in terms of the length of time it takes to sell a property and the holding costs that sellers have to carry during this period.'

For example, the Institute of Estate Agents property statistics for the year to end- August show that properties in the Cape Town suburbs of Bergvliet, Constantia, Diep River, Kirstenhof, Meadowridge, Plumstead and Tokai took an average of 92 days to sell, and that on average, selling prices were 12% lower than the original asking prices.

'However, the stats also show that upmarket Constantia recorded the biggest average difference between asking prices and selling prices (14,49%) and that homes here too almost double the average time to sell (166 days),' Quayle notes.

'And further analysis shows that Constantia properties listed at prices below R3m stayed on the market for an average of 126 days and sold for an average of 10,23% less than asking price. Those listed at between R3m and R5m took an average of 127 days to sell - for 13,14% less, on average, than the asking price.'

In the R5m to R10m bracket, the average number of days on market increased to 214 and sale prices were 11,82% lower, on average, than asking prices. For properties above the R10m mark, however, the average price differential jumped to nearly 20% and the average listing time was 276 days.

However, Quayle adds, of the seven suburbs analysed, Constantia did show the highest number of sales for the 12-month period at 188 units. 'This would indicate that Constantia remains a highly sought-after suburb, but that buyers are very well versed on market value and are prepared to negotiate hard - or keep looking - in order to pay only what they regard as a fair price. Sellers who want to sell quickly should take note.'

Harcourts Burgoyne Press Release

More commercial property tenants pay rent on time

More commercial property tenants pay rent on time

The percentage of commercial property tenants in good standing has slowly improved since the end of 2010 despite an increasing proportion of tenants failing to pay their rent on time, according to TPN credit bureau.

TPN warned in its latest commercial property rental monitor that there was a worrying trend of tenants migrating from the 'paid on time' category into the 'grace period' and 'paid late' categories, which were at a combined 27 percent in the second quarter.

To put this trend into perspective, TPN said, late-paying tenants in the fourth quarter of 2010 bottomed out at 13 percent and remained in the 19 percent to 22 percent range until increasing to 27 percent in the first and second quarter of this year.

'This will bring increasing cash flow pressure to bear on landlords in meeting monthly operational costs,' Michelle Dickens, TPN's founder and managing director, said.

Tenants in good standing are regarded as those who either pay on time, pay during the grace period or pay late. However, the overall rental payment of commercial tenants nationally shifted only marginally in the second quarter of this year compared with the previous quarter.

Tenants in good standing dropped marginally to 83 percent while those in the 'paid on time' category, 'paid during the grace period' and 'paid late' brackets were all unchanged compared with the previous quarter.

There was a marginal decline in the 'did not pay' category to 6 percent from 7 percent, compared with 16 percent of tenants in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The biannual property indicator released last month by the SA Property Owners Association and Investment Property Databank showed retail vacancies were stable but the office sector continued to register high vacancy levels of 12.6 percent overall.

The compilers of the indicator said recent office development activity was placing pressure on rental levels and lower-grade office space. Inner city offices continued to register low occupancy levels, recording a 22.8 percent vacancy rate for the first half of the year.

Vacancy rates in the industrial sector averaged 2.8 percent for the six-month period, they said.

TPN has categorised commercial tenants across four basic monthly rental payment brackets: tenants whose basic monthly rental is below R10 000; tenants in the R10 000 to R25 000 bracket; the R25 000 to R50 000 bracket; and tenants whose basic monthly rent is greater than R50 000.

TPN said there had been a noteworthy increase in tenants in the lowest-priced category to 35 percent in the second quarter from 29 percent 18 months ago.

Dickens said this indicated a shift of tenants moving out of the two mid-range brackets of R10 000 to R25 000 and R25 000 to R50 000.

'While these mid-size tenants are clearly price sensitive, there appears to be little movement among larger organisations in the R50 000-plus bracket, who make up 22 percent to 23 percent of the commercial market,' she said.

Dickens added that valuable insights could be gained by understanding how payment behaviour changed based on tenants' rental brackets. She said the lower the rent, the more challenging rental collection became.

'Tenants who pay less than R10 000 are three times more likely to default than their R50 000plus counterparts. For instance, the 'did not pay' profile for those in the category below R10 000 a month was 10 percent, whereas tenants in the R50 000-plus category only reflected 3 percent nonpayment,' she said.

Dickens said it was also important to note that commercial tenants were traditionally given greater leeway in partial and non-payment when a landlord or property manager allowed them time to rehabilitate. The cost of this latitude could be seen in the default to rent ratio, which stood at 631 percent or six months rent lost. To put this number into perspective, the corresponding residential property ratio was only two months loss of rent.

Dickens said the commercial rental payment performance looked solid overall, despite a few flags indicating that some commercial tenants were finding trading conditions difficult. 'Obviously this affects monthly rental payments, hence the increasing number of tenants in the smaller space and rental value bracket, as well as the marked payment slowdown in this rental category.'

Business Report

14 October 2013

Neighbours threaten action over Gupta properties

The Gupta news story has more sequels than the Police Academy Movies.




Neighbours threaten action over Gupta properties

Saxonwold residents are now threatening legal action should the City of Johannesburg give the green light to an illegally built mansion situated within the multimillion-rand Gupta compound.

Neighbours of the Guptas are now demanding compensation, decreed in a council building ordinance, for the 'loss of value, privacy and amenity' to their homes and lifestyles, with some no longer able to enjoy their pools and gardens because of what they call the 'triple-storey monstrosity'.

This week, a team from the city council's building committee conducted an inspection of the property, but the council told the Saturday Star that while it had reached a decision on the illegal building, it would not make it public.

The Gupta family have applied to rectify the illegal alterations to their mansion.

Last month, the Saturday Star revealed how the Guptas had come under fire from their neighbours over illegal building extensions in the compound, including that the size of the building footprint was 170m more than allowed by the Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme. Other violations included height restrictions, violation of the Architects Act and the number of dwelling units per site.

The council told the Saturday Star that the alterations deviated from the building's previously approved plans.

Some neighbours stated in their submissions to the council that they were now forced to 'go to the considerable expense of purchasing and planting mature trees and increase (the) height of (our) walls'.

In one angry submission, a neighbour lamented: 'The illegal building is so close to our dwelling - with windows and balconies overlooking, resulting in our entire lifestyle having to change as a result of noise levels, dark rooms and overlooking into private acknowledge the character and nature of the suburb and surrounding homes.'

Another resident slammed the Gupta family for 'flouting' the council's building regulations and showing a 'blatant disregard' for the rights and amenity of surrounding owners. 'The structures on the site are insensitive to the suburb of Saxonwold and have damaged the privacy and value of adjoining homes.'

Another resident wrote: 'In proceeding with the construction of the current structure, scant regard was paid to the impact on the rights and amenities of neighbouring properties. I have, on two occasions, noticed the presidential motorcade visiting the applicant and I expect that political connections will not be a factor when considering the application.'

The Guptas had 'paid no heed' to the town planning scheme, residents claimed.

'The controls in the town planning scheme are there to govern built form. In this case, the three-storey dwelling house already exceeds nor ms and standards for Saxonwold and environs,' read one submission. 'The applicant has persistently continued with construction, which has severely impacted on surrounding properties with scant regard for local residents' concerns.

'Having built unlawfully, the applicant now seeks to legalise the illegal excessive coverage rather than first having complied with existing legislation and controls. This conduct is not acceptable.'

Another stated: 'The applicant is trying to present a fait accompli to the City of Johannesburg but actually the parts of the building that constitute the illegal coverage should be demolished.'

The aggrieved residents maintain that were the council to give the building the goahead, a 'dangerous precedent' would be set.

Nthatisi Modingoane, the spokesman for the City of Johannesburg, said the application could not be made public because it was still before the planning committee.

Saturday Star

11 October 2013

Top KZN building firm close to collapse

Top KZN building firm close to collapse


One of KwaZulu-Natal's biggest construction groups, Stedone, is on the brink of financial collapse and a major creditor, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), is trying to force it into liquidation so that an investigation can be conducted into what happened to the R240 million loan it advanced.

And, while an 'investor' has been found to take over, the IDC says it believes the companies cannot be saved.

In papers filed yesterday in the Durban High Court, IDC legal manager Marcus Sen yatsi said an investigation was necessary into 'suspicious financial activity' including how its loan of R240m, granted in November last year, was spent in just six months.

Senyatsi said a R10 million payment from the Coega Development Corporation was received on Saturday, April 6, this year. Two days later, on April 8 - when the business rescue commenced - it had disappeared.

Senyatsi also accuses the man in charge of the business rescue plan, Karl Gribnitz, of creating a 'contrived and unsustainable foundation' for the rescue plan which includes 'exorbitant and quite extraordinary' remuneration for himself.

The urgent court application - seeking to set aside the approval to sell to Trini Trading Ptd Ltd - specifically involves the civil, development and investment companies.

When the case was called before Judge Nompumelelo Radebe, advocate Antonie Troskie, for Trini, said the case was 'commercially urgent' because it involved 'a lot of jobs and a lot of money'.

The Mercury has previously reported that several low cost housing projects, for which the company had tenders, had been stalled and the provincial government was considering cancelling the contracts as a result. Cited as respondents in the court application are 266 creditors hoping to be paid. Senyatsi said it was the IDC view that the three companies were in such terrible financial difficulty that liquidation was inevitable.

But Gribnitz had instead proposed a rescue plan which, Senyatsi said, 'ignored significant claims and required creditors to abandon their security or majority portions of their claims'.

Senyatsi said the IDC and another creditor, Grindrod, had requested that meetings held with creditors to vote on the rescue plan should be adjourned.

But, after deeming 'incorrectly' that any adjournment would have to be approved by a 75 percent majority and then giving votes to those who should not have voted - including directors Brian Bell, Elvis Dube and Fritz Ackermann - the adjournment was denied and the deal with Trini was approved.

He said the rescue plans provided that Gribnitz be paid R2 000 an hour, 'success fees' of more than R2m and that he would become chairman of a holding company for which he would also be paid.

Senyatsi said after first accepting the IDC's claims - which included a claim to ceded shares - Gribnitz had now rejected them.

'The plans are not viable... they provide for an injection of inadequate working capital. We believe at least R240m is needed to survive - and they depend upon the misclassification and consequent rejection of the largest claims against the company.'

The IDC wants the approval of the rescue plans set aside, and says this must be decided urgently.

The matter was adjourned until this morning to set dates for argument.

Gribnitz, represented by advocate Rob Mossop, is opposing the application.



The Mercury

Nedbank and AFD to fund affordable properties

Nedbank and AFD to fund affordable properties


Affordable housing ownership in South Africa is to receive a boost from a partnership between Nedbank and the French Development Agency (AFD).




Affordable homes under construction in Eldorado Park, Johannesburg.


Nedbank said yesterday that it had introduced a R17 000 grant provided by the AFD to boost ownership in this sector of the market. The bank's initiative will be supported by its borrowers education programme, which aims to empower consumers through knowledge and instil financial fitness principles.

The initiative follows the significant shot in the arm given last month to the development of affordable housing in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa through the investment of more than $63 million (R630m) into the second fund of global private equity investor International Housing Solutions (IHS). The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank group, has contributed $25m to the fund. The National Housing Finance Corporation, a South African stateowned development finance entity, contributed R300m.

Timothy Akinnusi, Nedbank Home Loans' head of sales and client value management, said the bank was delighted at the partnership with the AFD to help make home ownership a reality for qualifying entry-level buyers.

A grant of R17 000 from Nedbank and France's AFD will help prospective home owners buy affordable houses, such as in Eldorado Park.

'We are confident this will increase the pool of homeowners in South Africa, particularly within the affordable housing market, focusing on buyer advocacy, ownership and maintenance of a home.'

Akinnusi said the joint commitment with the AFD had the entry-level market at heart because this initiative would assist in significantly bringing down the initial cost of the bond amount for this market while also helping to improve education on home ownership in a sustainable manner.

'We believe through this partnership we can make a meaningful contribution to the long-term plans of the Department of Human Settlements aimed at addressing the housing backlog.'
The grant is available to South African citizens who are first-time home buyers with a single or joint gross monthly income of up to R17 600.

On completing the borrowers education programme, participants will be given a certificate enabling them to apply for a home loan through a Nedbank mobile home loans sales consultant. Successful applicants will qualify for a R17 000 grant from the AFD, instantly reducing the outstanding bond amount owed by the new homeowner.

Jean-Michel Debrat, the director of the Johannesburg regional office of AFD, a public development finance institution of the French government, said it was seeking to develop a sustainable supply of home loans for low-income households through the partnership with Nedbank.

He said AFD financing made it possible to reduce the amount of capital borrowed by these households and to implement training for borrowers.

Jeff Lawrence, the head of affordable housing home loans at Nedbank, said the borrowers education programme was Nedbank's latest demonstration of its ongoing commitment to making banking more accessible to all in South Africa and was available at no cost to clients.

'We designed the programme to improve individuals' circumstances and help uplift communities as a whole.
'We want those who attend the borrowers education programme to spread the word in their communities... so that we have more people owning homes.'
Lawrence said people could only get an AFD grant if they attended the training programme because it equipped them with valuable information that allowed them to understand the implications of owning a home and maintaining it.

He said the programme played a key role in helping to combat defaults, which could take place in the early stages of repaying a mortgage.


Business Report




Affordable homes under construction in Eldorado Park, Johannesburg.

Nedbank said yesterday that it had introduced a R17 000 grant provided by the AFD to boost ownership in this sector of the market. The bank's initiative will be supported by its borrowers education programme, which aims to empower consumers through knowledge and instil financial fitness principles.

The initiative follows the significant shot in the arm given last month to the development of affordable housing in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa through the investment of more than $63 million (R630m) into the second fund of global private equity investor International Housing Solutions (IHS). The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank group, has contributed $25m to the fund. The National Housing Finance Corporation, a South African stateowned development finance entity, contributed R300m.

Timothy Akinnusi, Nedbank Home Loans' head of sales and client value management, said the bank was delighted at the partnership with the AFD to help make home ownership a reality for qualifying entry-level buyers.

A grant of R17 000 from Nedbank and France's AFD will help prospective home owners buy affordable houses, such as in Eldorado Park.

'We are confident this will increase the pool of homeowners in South Africa, particularly within the affordable housing market, focusing on buyer advocacy, ownership and maintenance of a home.'

Akinnusi said the joint commitment with the AFD had the entry-level market at heart because this initiative would assist in significantly bringing down the initial cost of the bond amount for this market while also helping to improve education on home ownership in a sustainable manner.

'We believe through this partnership we can make a meaningful contribution to the long-term plans of the Department of Human Settlements aimed at addressing the housing backlog.'

The grant is available to South African citizens who are first-time home buyers with a single or joint gross monthly income of up to R17 600.

On completing the borrowers education programme, participants will be given a certificate enabling them to apply for a home loan through a Nedbank mobile home loans sales consultant. Successful applicants will qualify for a R17 000 grant from the AFD, instantly reducing the outstanding bond amount owed by the new homeowner.

Jean-Michel Debrat, the director of the Johannesburg regional office of AFD, a public development finance institution of the French government, said it was seeking to develop a sustainable supply of home loans for low-income households through the partnership with Nedbank.

He said AFD financing made it possible to reduce the amount of capital borrowed by these households and to implement training for borrowers.

Jeff Lawrence, the head of affordable housing home loans at Nedbank, said the borrowers education programme was Nedbank's latest demonstration of its ongoing commitment to making banking more accessible to all in South Africa and was available at no cost to clients.

'We designed the programme to improve individuals' circumstances and help uplift communities as a whole.

'We want those who attend the borrowers education programme to spread the word in their communities... so that we have more people owning homes.'
Lawrence said people could only get an AFD grant if they attended the training programme because it equipped them with valuable information that allowed them to understand the implications of owning a home and maintaining it.

He said the programme played a key role in helping to combat defaults, which could take place in the early stages of repaying a mortgage.

Business Report

09 October 2013

EAAB reappoints Chaplog as its chief

EAAB reappoints Chaplog as its chief

Bryan Chaplog has been reappointed as chief executive of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), the statutory consumer protection body of the property industry.

The board was placed under administration last year by then human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale, who asked the Special Investigating Unit to conduct a probe into its affairs. His actions were prompted by a reshuffle of board officials, with former acting chief executive Chaplog reappointed after being relieved of his duty, and the suspension of company secretary Nkululeko Ndebele.

The EAAB was in the spotlight because of allegations of mismanagement and embezzlement; the packages allegedly paid to former chief executive Nomonde Mapetla and former senior managers; and highprofile cases, including the criminal case brought against estate agency executive Wendy Machanik and the investigation into sham property auctions by Auction Alliance.

EAAB chairman Kwandiwe Kondlo said Chaplog had rededicated himself to dealing with the challenges still faced by the EAAB in its endeavours to become a world-class regulator.

Business Report

08 October 2013

SHEPPERSON ATTORNEYS - IN THE PRESS

Hello Readers

I hope that you find the news that is posted on my Blog to be interesting and informative.

I also publish articles in the press from time to time. You can view a complete list of these articles and features on the "In the Press" page on the Shepperson Attorneys Website. HERE is the link to that page.

The latest article appeared in the Asset Magazine and can be viewed by clicking HERE. The title of Article is "Impact of over-regulation on the Property Industry".

Thanks again for taking the time to read my Blog.


Gareth Shepperson

07 October 2013

More Pretoria streets to be closed off for BRT

As someone who goes to the Deeds Office in City Centre on most days, this is an issue that is very personal to me.

I echo the frustrations of the people in the article and I am certain that the (worthwhile) goal of acchieving better public transport could have been accomplished with much less disruption.

Skinner street has been an absolute disaster area for months now.  However, I was happy to use Pretorius Street to enter the city from the east ... then they closed two lanes there for BRT construction.  I therefore moved another street to the north but the demolition of Tshwane House has made this route a disaster as well.

Come on Tshwane ... a little bit of planning and forethought please!

Gareth Shepperson


More Pretoria streets to be closed off for BRT


Two more streets will be closed from Monday because of bus rapid transit construction work, Tshwane spokesman Selby Bokaba said. The section of Paul Kruger Street between Boom and Venter streets will be closed for the construction of two A Re Yeng lanes.

The roadworks on this stretch of road will continue until March.



Workers cut down trees in Paul Kruger Street to make way for 'A Re Yeng' construction.

Bokaba said: 'During construction, two of the three existing lanes in each direction will be closed off. Motorists are advised to use Es'kia Mphahlele (DF Malan) Drive and Steve Biko (Beatrix) Street to avoid the roadworks. Motorists and pedestrians are urged to take note of the temporary road signage during the construction period.

'The public are advised to be vigilant and watch out for construction vehicles using the road.

'Once operational, the A Re Yeng system will operate in the median of Paul Kruger Street, with A Re Yeng buses running in each direction on designated trunk lanes.'

One of the schools that will be affected by the traffic is Langenhoven High School which is on Paul Kruger Street.

The head of its English department, Lucinda Pereira, said circulars had been sent to parents about the traffic disruption, but the school was worried about the matric exams beginning on October 28.

'There was an accident on Paul Kruger and some of our teachers were stuck in traffic for two hours. We have a few teachers who live in Capital Park and the rest have to commute,' Pereira said. 'Our pupils commute by public transport or are dropped off by their parents. We are going to send another circular telling parents to leave home at least two hours earlier than usual.'

The school could not move exams for the lower grades, Pereira said.

'We cannot move the exams to a later time because they have two exams a day. You need more time between the exams.'

Business has also been affected.

Peter du Toit, of the Pretoria Chamber of Commerce, said: 'The problem is not only the BRT construction. There is also the widening of the streets and the demolition of Tshwane House. Everything is being done at the same time and it is chaotic. Why did they not dig up one block, work there and finish before digging up the whole city?

'This whole thing is not economically viable because people cannot get to their workplaces or to meetings on time. Why are the traffic police not controlling traffic? It seems there is no proper plan.'

Du Toit said customers would choose to not buy in the inner city because of the congestion.

'If you make it difficult for customers to get to the city, they will go to the Menlyns of the world.

'We are concerned that we will lose revenue and clients.'

Simon Mailula, who is in charge of the pointsmen, said OUTsurance pointsmen were being trained and would be stationed around the city where BRT construction was taking place. 'Traffic Freeflow in conjunction with the Tshwane Metropolitan Police Department will be launching 10 OUTsurance mobile pointsmen and an additional 15 static pointsmen on October 18.

'This will increase the OUTsurance pointsmen team to 55 in Tshwane. An additional five mobile pointsmen will be included next year, increasing the mobile team to 60.' Yesterday afternoon, a motorist called the Pretoria News to say the traffic situation was better than on previous days on Thabo Sehume (Andries) Street as pointsmen had been deployed there to direct the flow.

Pretoria News

'Credit amnesty may trip up rich property owners'

'Credit amnesty may trip up rich property owners'


Although the impending credit amnesty is aimed at making it easier for individuals with adverse credit records to obtain finance, lenders are likely to apply even more conservative practices as they have placed huge reliance on credit information from credit bureaus.

Wealthy property owners who have previously struggled to get loans due to their impaired credit files may continue to struggle, even if they have the assets for security, says Gary Palmer, chief executive of Paragon Lending Solutions, a private non-bank lender.

He says the increased risks of not knowing clients' histories could result in delays in obtaining finance from banks and the costs of financing loans may increase to cover the risks.

'The banks have strict lending criteria due to new regulations, such as Basel 3, which have already resulted in delays in loan-approval times. If the new legislation is passed, the banks will tighten up even further to protect themselves, if they are uncertain about a client's capacity to repay a loan.'

He says property owners with impaired credit records may have the assets to secure finance for working capital or for buying property. However, the new amnesty will mean banks will have to scrutinise their credit-granting processes more closely, and do more background research, to ensure that they are approving loans to low-risk clients.

'These additional delays could result in clients missing out on deals, as they may require finance quickly to secure properties or other financial transactions, even though their previous debt obligations have long been settled.'

Palmer says wealthy property owners need to employ strategic resources to get the desired loans and avoid falling into bad debt.

'Private non-bank lenders are usually smaller businesses that have the capacity to determine clients' needs and whether their assets and situation qualify them for loans. Each client's situation is taken into account with the aim of providing access to time-sensitive transactions using their assets as collateral.'

Palmer says the credit amnesty legislation could have a beneficial effect on the economy, if the government creates a process to slowly provide blacklisted and impaired credit consumers with free debt counselling and financial management skills.

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)

Prepaid meters for Tshwane

Prepaid meters for Tshwane


The City of Tshwane has started its rollout of a R7 billion project which will see consumers switch to smart prepaid meters over the next two years.

This is part of the metro's security of revenue project which will see the installation of 800 000 prepaid smart meters in every household, business and public building at no cost to the consumer.

The project was launched in April and aims to assist consumers with accurate consumption figures and save the city more than R5bn in billing, administration and debt collection fees.

First in line for the new meters are large-scale energy consumers who use more than 100 amps a month.

Household consumers can expect the meters, in phases, from January.

The metro has promised no increases in electricity costs. 'People will be able to control their electricity consumption,' said city manager Jason Ngobeni.

Consumers can control the amounts they spend on electricity each month because they can choose how many units to upload.

The City of Tshwane will collect revenue upfront, improving the city's liquidity and reducing arrears owed. A staggering R6bn was owed to the city in June.

Chief financial officer Andile Dyakala said the city, on average, received payments 131 days after issuing bills.

'We have to pay Eskom 15 days after buying electricity, but we wait much longer to receive money from consumers.'

Executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said the new metering system would improve the flow of money to the city.

'We can bank on money received upfront from consumers and use it to improve social infrastructure,' he said.

Ramokgopa said the new system would increase job opportunities in the city. The factory producing the meters will have to be in Tshwane to benefit city job seekers.

At an information session for the first batch of Tshepo 10 000 candidates on Tuesday, Ramokgopa said the trainees could find opportunities in this new project to start and grow business ventures.

'The opportunities for jobs are available immediately,' he said.

Ramokgopa will be among the first to have a meter installed in his home this month.

Pretoria News