Showing posts from November, 2013

Media out to destroy R2.1bn property group, says chairman - Moneyweb

The chairman of Nova Property Group, Connie Myburgh says it appears to him that certain sections of the press are doing their best to make things difficult for the group and its directors. Myburgh was speaking at the group’s annual general meeting, held in Pretoria on Tuesday. The Nova Property Group is the owner of most of the properties that were promoted to investors by failed property syndicator Sharemax. It has property assets worth R2.1bn. Nova acquired these properties as part of a scheme of arrangement that was sanctioned by the High Court on January 20, 2012. Myburgh took particular aim at Moneyweb and this journalist who attended the AGM by means of a proxy. He said it is this journalist’s intention to hurt the Nova Group. “We know precisely who Mr Cobbett is working with,” said Myburgh. “The people that are trying very hard, like they did in 2010, to hurt the investors, the group and the company.” Despite this alleged attack on Nova, Moneyweb can confirm that to date n

Building council to probe Singh family building projects

Building council to probe Singh family building projects The National Home Builders Registration Council has launched an investigation into allegations of shoddy workmanship by companies owned by Jay Singh's family. The council said that an independent team of qualified professionals had been sent to investigate all housing projects by Woodglaze Trading and Gralio Precast, which were both owned by Singh's ex-wife, Shireen Annamalay.

Tongaat mall developer linked to failed Durban Point project

Tongaat mall developer linked to failed Durban Point project Tongaat mall developer Jay Singh has now emerged as a major player in the failed Dolphin Whispers development at Durban's Point. The Dolphin Whispers building at Durban's Point waterfront. Details from a forensic investigation showed that R10 million was the usual limit for approval of loans of this type, but the board of the Ithala Development Finance Corporation signed a cheque for R83m for Dolphin Whispers.

Durban bids to have Tongaat mall demolished

Durban bids to have Tongaat mall demolished The eThekwini Municipality is going after Rectangle Property Investments, the company developing the Tongaat mall which collapsed, killing two, last week, and intends bringing court action to have the property demolished. The city also wants to bring an application to have the company held in contempt of court. If the company is found guilty of contempt of court, Durban businessman Jay Singh's son, Ravi Jagadasan, as the sole member of the company, could be jailed. The municipality's mayoral spokesman, Sthembiso Mshengu, said yesterday that the city was considering the demolition application but was waiting for an engineer's report on the stability of the building.

Property owners, courts take on illegal building

Property owners, courts take on illegal building Property owners, tired of waiting for council officials to act against illegal developments, are increasingly turning to the courts, seeking high court orders to stop town planning and building infringements. And judges - alarmed at what appears to an increase in defiance of the law in these matters - are taking a more robust approach. In one matter in the Durban High Court on Friday, regarding the alleged illegal use of a residential property as a restaurant, acting Judge Peter Rowan suggested that the interim interdict, stopping trade, be strengthened to include that all signs advertising the business be removed immediately.

Commercial property owners to tackle municipal rates

I found this article to be fascinating, not because there is anything earth shatteringly new that is revealed but because it coincides with a dinner I attended last night with the President of SAPOA (Mr. Estienne de Klerk, who is quoted extensively in the article) and the Mayor of the City of Joburg. It was an awesome SAPOA event and included many prominent people from the property industry and several top City of Joburg officials, including the Municipal Manager and a number of MMC's. Mayor Parks Tau spoke very eloquently and his vision for the future of the city was extremely impressive.  The Mayor mentioned that progress toward a future vision should not be undertaken at the expense of glossing over current issues. There are obviously dire backlogs in the planning department and the billing system (including Clearance Certificates) is an ongoing problem.  These issues were not specifically discussed at the function BUT there does seem to be a new spirit of co-operation bet

Comments sought on Centurion lake property proposals

Comments sought on Centurion lake property proposals Tshwane residents are being given a chance to comment on the proposed multibillion-rand development on the site of the troubled Centurion Lake. The development would be known as Symbio-City, with the tallest building in Africa, once it sees the light, subject to successful completion of land alienation and zoning processes. Project leader Roger Warren told the Pretoria News that plans for the development were with the municipality and, to his knowledge, public participation and zoning processes had started. The land is owned by the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality.

Abandoned millionaires row property a 'problem building'

Abandoned millionaires row property a 'problem building' Cape Town city officials yesterday inspected a Clifton bungalow belonging to the son of the Equatorial Guinea president, bought for over R23 million nine years ago, and said they would be taking legal steps against the absent owner. The abandoned Clifton bungalow, bought for R23.5 million nine years ago. The bungalow, with sprawling views over Fourth Beach, was bought by Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue in 2004, for R23.5m.

Growthpoint becomes SAs biggest office property owner

Growthpoint becomes SAs biggest office property owner Growthpoint has acquired the entire property portfolio and management business of the Tiber Group for R6.6 billion in the listed property fund's single largest transaction. The Towers in Sandton are part of the property portfolio being aquired by Growthpoint. It will make Growthpoint the biggest office property owner in South Africa with a portfolio of 1.5 million square metres of office space valued at about R25bn.

Estate Agency Affairs Board queries 'search invalidity'

Estate Agency Affairs Board queries 'search invalidity' The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) is pleading with the Constitutional Court to suspend the declaration of invalidity of the law governing its work as this would render searches dating as far back as 1997 unlawful. The board is supported in its bid by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, to whom the EAAB reports. In June, the Western Cape High Court found that even though the EAAB had evidence that Auction Alliance had breached the Estate Agency Affairs and Financial Intelligence Centre Acts, both laws were unconstitutional and invalid because they violate the right to privacy by permitting targeted searches without a warrant.

Property developers to probe delays in Western Cape

Property developers to probe delays in Western Cape Concerned about slow development processes in the Western Cape, the South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) has commissioned a study into the value of the private property sector in the province, and the economic costs of inefficient property development processes. Development economists UrbanEcon are assessing the size and scope of the private commercial and industrial property sector and - more importantly - laying bare the risks associated with the property development process. Preliminary numbers in the draft report, titled The Role and Impact of the Commercial Property Sector - Western Cape Province, show the private property sector contributes significantly to the Western Cape economy. It contributes 9 percent, or R23 billion, in construction and property management activities.

Rode's Report shows property price slowdown

Rode's Report shows property price slowdown After starting this year off with a bang, the annual growth in nominal house prices has tapered off in recent months, according to the latest Rode's Report on the property market. But Rode & Associates chief executive Erwin Rode said the cooling in house price growth should not come as a surprise given that key drivers of house prices were showing no vigour. Rode said the official unemployment rate rose to 26 percent in the second quarter, while growth in the disposable income of households fell to 7 percent whereas a year earlier disposable incomes were growing at an unsustainable rate of almost 13 percent.

Tshwane council bills go online

Tshwane council bills go online Property owners in Pretoria are now able to view, download and make payments for all municipal accounts electronically from anywhere using their computers and cellphones. Yesterday, the city launched the eTshwane service, a free online system that provides a full history of accounts and allows users to interact with the municipality - from lodging complains, to queries and compliments. The system allows real-time updates on payments.

Property owners to have their say on Centurion Lake

Property owners to have their say on Centurion Lake Residents of Tshwane may have a say on the latest attempt to rehabilitate Centurion Lake which has fallen from grace in recent years. A formerly popular attraction that used to draw hundreds of people to the area every day, the lake is now a dirty, stinking mess, which has seen businesses there losing clients. Now the Tshwane Municipality has initiated a public participation process.

European Investment Bank supports local low-income housing

European Investment Bank supports local low-income housing The European Investment Bank (EIB), Europe's long-term lending institution, has agreed to provide a further 250 million Euro (R2 billion) for investment in affordable and social housing in South Africa. The new programme will be managed in South Africa by four local partners - two public development finance institutions and two commercial banks - which have already identified development projects that would deliver about 23 800 new housing units. The first of the four loan agreements was signed in Joburg recently by Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank vice- president responsible for sub- Saharan Africa and South Africa, and representatives of Nedbank.


Since my last post with the same title, some new Articles by and about Shepperson Attorneys have appeared in the press. Please see the latest issue of the Property Review Magazine. The magazine contains a nice feature on me and, more particularly, in my capacity as a National Councillor of SAPOA. The latest issue of Asset Magazine contains an Article that I really enjoyed writing because it is more lighhearted than previous hard fact based articles that Shepperson Attorneys has published in earlier editions of Asset Magazine. Please see my Article on Pages 68 to 70. Gareth Shepperson Shepperson Attorneys Corporate, Commercial and Property Law

GARETH'S LITTLE RANT: Log a Call ... the Death of Service

The ubiquitous Call Centre is proving to be the bain of my existence. Whilst I realise that with the advent of major international corporations, it is no longer possible to have a manager sitting somewhere dealing with queries.  It is simply not possible to deal with thousand of queries from all over the country (or the world). However, whoever invented the current model of the operation of Call Centres deserves to be Hung, Drawn and Quartered as in the days of old. The phrases "Log a Call" and "Let me give you a reference number" should be banned from the English language upon punishment of death (or at the very least having your tongue cut off).  Similar phrases like "We are experiencing high call volumes" and "Your call is important to us" should be worth at least 20 lashes. Let me give a recent example:

Chinese to build 'New York of Africa' in Gauteng

My personal favourite piece of property news in a while. Some may see it as a threat to local Developers but I am of the opinion that investments such as this have far more potential benefits to SA Property Players than potential threats. Investment has a knock-on effect and the more foreign direct invest (FDI) that South Africa can secure, the better our economic growth, the more employment as a result of growth, the more disposable income for every individual/corporate ... and therefore the more that such individuals/companies can spend on PROPERTY. Am I being overly simplistic?  Why not comment? A recent economic impact study by the Bureau of Economic Research at Stellenbosch University indicated that the implementation of Modderfontein’s previously approved spatial development framework will cost about R77bn. According to the study, there is capacity to create 22 000 jobs, 65% being semi-skilled and unskilled. It estimates that while R1bn will be generated in local g

Electricity, rates and taxes remain top property costs

Electricity, rates and taxes remain top property costs Electricity, rates and taxes remained the biggest contributors to operating costs of property owners in the first half of this year, according to a report from the SA Property Owners Association (Sapoa). Electricity remained the largest cost as a proportion of total operating costs at 32 percent, despite falling by 2 percent in the first half of the year from a year earlier, followed by rates and taxes, which represented 21 percent of total costs and grew by 2.3 percent year on year. The third highest operating cost contributor was management costs at 8 percent, despite contracting by 5.9 percent over the period, according to the report compiled by International Property Databank for Sapoa. Fran├žois Viruly, a property economist and professor at UCT's School of Construction Economics and Management, said this week that operating costs had in the past few years increasingly become an issue in the property sector because t

'Consumers still hungry for homes and loans'

'Consumers still hungry for homes and loans' According to the latest statistics released by BetterBond Home Loans the number of home loan applications received by the group increased by 5,06% in the 12 months to end-October, compared with the previous 12 months, while the total value of those applications showed a 12,26% y/y increase. In addition, says BetterBond CEO Shaun Rademeyer, the total value of home loans formally granted through the originator showed a huge year-on-year increase of 23,85% at end-October - by contrast with the 2,7% y/y growth in overall household mortgage balances reported by the Reserve Bank at the end of the third quarter.

End in sight for nightmare on Pretoria roads

My very own personal pet hate! I have blogged on a couple of occasions bemoaning the fact that I have to endure the absolute chaos that has been created in the City center by the construction of the bus routes.  As part of my duties, I go to the Deeds Office several times a week and suffer the extreme frustration of the roads having been narrowed to a lane or two and all the delivery vehicles simply stopping in one of these remaining lanes to do their deliveries. When you eventually reach your destination, you find that they have taken away all the metered parking.  Crazy! Anyway, at least they will rapidly finish the project ... NOT! (Completion date is 2016 - and we know how good the public service is at meeting deadlines - think Madupi.) Gareth End in sight for nightmare on Pretoria roads Come April, the traffic nightmare along Nana Sita and Paul Kruger streets could be over as the R3.5 billion Tshwane Rapid Transit system takes to the road. An artist's impress

'Many loopholes can be found in Agreements of Sale'

'Many loopholes can be found in Agreements of Sale' Any experienced property professional can help a seller or buyer get out of 80% of Agreements of Sale says Wayne Albutt, Regional Sales Manager for the Rawson Property Group in the Western Cape. 'Most traditional Agreements of Sale will have had sections added to them or deleted from them so as to fully cover the agreement and in most cases it is these additional clauses that can be exploited and give rise to problems, making the Agreement of Sale unenforceable in terms of the Alienation of Land Act. Should one of the parties want to get out of the agreement after signing, an astute lawyer or estate agent can often find reasons for making the Agreement of Sale voidable.'

No answer on Tshwane's gated communities

No answer on Tshwane's gated communities Gated communities need to move away from only worrying about crime in their neighbourhoods, but look at broader issues that affect the city. Speaking at the annual meeting of Lynnwood Glen Estate at the weekend, Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said the city supported gated communities but cautioned against them only concentrating on crime. Ramokgopa said it was up to the council to decide whether to lift the city's moratorium on granting permission for communities to erect gates for access control. 'Right now, your biggest concern is crime. We hope that in future there will be other issues that you as a community can be interested in,' he said.

Durban's secret glass dome unveiled

Durban's secret glass dome unveiled For anyone born before the 1980s, John Orr's was synonymous with shopping for the whole family, and a visit to the Dr Pixley kaSeme (West) Street department store was an outing to be savoured. The newly restored glass dome at the Jetmart store. It sold everything, including the proverbial kitchen sink, and was a one-stop destination for families. Finally, however, it could not compete with the new breed of chain store and the Durban store and its counterparts elsewhere in the country were sold about 30 years ago. It was the end of an illustrious chapter in the history of Durban commerce. Today only the shells of the handsome original buildings remain. But an exciting discovery three years ago led to renewed interest in the building from architects and historians.

Rise in bank's house price index slows to 6.9%

Rise in bank's house price index slows to 6.9% : The rise in the Standard Bank house price index softened to 6.9 percent year-on-year in September from a revised 7.6 percent year-on-year figure the month before. In September, the nominal (not adjusted for inflation) index monitoring sectional title units matched the August improvement of 4.2 percent year-on-year. Momentum in the nominal index monitoring freehold properties eased to 8.7 percent year on year in September from 9.5 percent year on year in August. In spite of the softness in September, the index remains range bound between 7 percent and 8 percent. Although also range-bound between 2 percent and 3 percent, household credit growth continues to show signs of life.

FSB weighs in on controversial Sharemax opinion

Responds to Sharemax director’s comments on Fais Ombud complaints. JOHANNESBURG – The Financial Services Board (FSB) has found it necessary to comment on a circular issued by Sharemax director Dominique Haese. The circular, dated August 6, 2013, suggests to investors that if they pursue complaints against their financial advisers with the Fais Ombud, they may forfeit rights to investment returns or repayments from the Nova Group. The Nova Group has approximately 33 000 investors who acquired shares or debentures as a result of the restructure of property syndications promoted by Sharemax Investments. The restructure resulted out of a scheme of arrangement which was sanctioned by the High Court on January 20, 2012. The Nova Group is controlled by four directors, two of whom, Dominique Haese and Dirk Koekemoer, played important roles in the promotion of Sharemax investment products. On October 25 the FSB issued a media release in response to Haese’s circular. Says the FSB: “The c

Tolls 'to cause mass tenant migration' :

Tolls 'to cause mass tenant migration' The introduction of e-tolling is set to cause a major upheaval in the Gauteng property market, and especially in the rental sector. 'The toll fees are going to place an additional strain on household budgets and many people who currently use the freeways to commute long distances to work will want to relocate to avoid them,' says Jan Dave of the RealNet estate agency group. 'This is obviously going to be easier for tenants than homeowners, and the immediate result is likely to be a spike in demand for flats and other rental properties close to the decentralised office and industrial nodes, and in the CBDs of Johannesburg, Pretoria and other large centres in Gauteng.' Rental demand is also likely to strengthen, he says, in the increasingly popular areas close to public transport access points like Rea Vaya, Gautrain or Metro stations, as more people try to avoid commuting by car.

Property development slated for Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld stadium

Property development slated for Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld stadium Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld and its surroundings are set to get a massive economic and aesthetic upgrade with the construction of a R1.2 billion shopping and office precinct which is expected to be operational by the beginning of 2016. An aerial view of the site plan and road networks. The project, which will consist of shops, restaurants, an office park, a hotel, a gym and a sports museum, is expected to break ground in the middle of next year, with the construction of the entire development set to last 18 months. This futuristic and environmentally friendly project will be positioned at the corner of Park and Kirkness streets and will be bordered by Pretoria High School for Girls and Loftus Versfeld Stadium. The development which will occupy the entire tennis court and the open field parking on the north side of the stadium was presented by Abland (Pty) Ltd yesterday. Abland is a property development

Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!