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28 April 2005

"Group area's" plea for Bo-Kaap preservation fails
Business Day - South Africa
When apartheid was in full swing, apologists for the Group Areas Act used to argue that the law merely codified behaviour that would have happened anyway. Birds of a feather flocked together, they said. Different race groups had different cultures and habits; scrapping the law would cause unnecessary conflict and suppress the cultures of minority groups.

Now statutory group areas are but a distant memory, and while apartheid planning is still reflected in the fact that dormitory suburbs and townships remain largely racially defined, where mixing has occurred there has been remarkably little conflict. Middle-class South Africans seem happy enough to slap a coil or two of razor wire on top of their boundary walls and ignore all their neighbours, regardless of colour.
Business Day

Battle of the beach homes
Sunday Times - South Africa
The gloves are off as the government takes on wealthy land grabbers who are illegally annexing property in a race to secure prime sea views for themselves.

The government has started bulldozing and burning illegal seaside homes. Five hundred houses, worth between R1-million and R5-million each, are on the government's list of illegal properties earmarked for demolition.

State environmental officials and law enforcement agencies in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Western Cape are trawling the country's 2500km coastline to check up on new illegal developments.
Sunday Times

Minerals Act can be annulled, land court told
Iol - South Africa
The Land Claims Court has the power to override the new Minerals Act, an advocate presenting the Richtersveld community's multi-billion rand claim argued in Cape Town on Monday.

The 2002 Act makes mineral resources the common heritage of all the people of South Africa, and does away with the notion of mineral rights, offering prospecting or mining rights instead.

The state, appearing as respondent in the Richtersveld claim along with state-owned diamond company Alexkor, is arguing that the community's claim to restoration of the mineral rights of the land from which it was dispossessed, is "legally impossible" because of the Act.
Iol

Flat plans fall flat
Financial Mail - South Africa
An unprecedented jump in building costs, combined with a sudden shift in sentiment to offices, has scotched two high-profile, high-rise residential developments in Sandton. A third has been stopped because of objections from commercial property owners.

This halves the supply of new flats and could push both rentals and sales prices up. Shocked buyers of off-plan apartments at Sandown Isle in Rivonia Road and The Sandown off Grayston Drive discovered this week the apartments would never be built. The buyers will, however, get their deposits back.
Financial Mail

Record results for Pam Golding
Iafrica.com - South Africa
Pam Golding Properties, the residential company within the Pam Golding Property group, South Africa's largest independent real estate group, has reported record turnover of R12.9-billion for the financial year to end-February 2005, up an impressive 36 percent compared to R9.5-billion the previous year.

Announcing its final results on Monday, PGP said that over the past four years the group has more than trebled its sales turnover, while unit sales have more than doubled over the same period.
Iafrica.com

Urban jungles with a range of beasts…
eProp - South Africa
South Africa's inner cities are urban jungles with a range of beasts far more dangerous than nature has created says Neville Schaefer, CEO of Trafalgar, the national property managers.
"There are no kings in these jungles," adds Schafer. "Only a motley bunch of predators and scavengers after one thing - the enormous income stream from the blocks of flats in the city.

"Imagine 200 blocks each with 50 flats getting R1 200 a month in rent. That's R60 000/month per building or R12m/ month for 200 blocks and it is to the city what the bloodstream is to a human being. It enables the tenants to have a home, pays for their electricity and water, and the rates and taxes that fund the other services and infrastructure of the city."
eProp

Lawyer called himself Ian Revue to steal £800,000 in stamp duty
Timesonline - UK
A crooked solicitor who set up a bank account using the name Ian Revue stole more than £800,000 intended for the Inland Revenue, a court was told yesterday.

Ian Macfarlane, 44, a senior partner in a company of specialist conveyancing solicitors, deposited 164 cheques from clients intended to pay their stamp duty into the account. He used the money to cover his daughters' school fees, take his family on exotic holidays and even to pay his own tax bill.
Timesonline

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