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Top Namibian official defends land moves
Iol - South Africa
A top Namibian land official on Thursday defended state moves to expropriate white-owned farms, saying the willing seller, willing buyer policy was hampering efforts to redress colonial-era land grabs.

"This willing seller, willing buyer principle has been very slow and has indeed been criticised by the majority of the landless," said Frans Tseehama, permanent secretary of lands in Namibia.

"The price of land has been unacceptably too high," he said, adding that the government had only been able to buy 145 farms since independence in 1990.

Are we going the Zim route?
Moneyweb - South Africa
Stung by criticism over the slow pace of land reform, the government is planning to revisit the willing seller/willing buyer approach because it has negatively influenced the redistribution process.

Speaking at the Land Summit, Minister of Land Affairs Thoko Didiza stressed that there is a need to come up with a new path to speed up the process. There is speculation that the government is considering the controversial expropriation option to save its face for failing to deliver on its land reform promises.

Land registry blamed for slow pace of flat sales
The East African - Uganda
Difficulties in sourcing mortgage finance and slow title deed processing at the Lands Registry are delaying the sale of flats in Uganda. The houses are to be disposed of under a 2001 housing law - The Condominium Property Act, which allows for the sale of apartments in block setting as single units.

The National Housing and Construction Company (NHCC), the first company to sell blocks of flats under the condominium law, said that since 2003, when the sales of the 1,546 condominiums started, they had obtained 780 titles and only 300 units had been sold.
The East African

Why house-price growth prospects look bleak despite a booming economy
Rode's Property News - South Africa
In spite of a rosy forecast for economic growth of 4 to 5 percent for South Africa over the next five years, house-price growth is unlikely to even beat consumer inflation, says Erwin Rode of property economists and valuers Rode & Associates.

Estate agents are increasingly reporting dramatic decreases in show house attendance, longer selling periods, resulting in lower offers, and falling sales - all indications of an easing in demand.

Rode says the drop-off in demand comes as no surprise. "The growth of residential property prices to record levels over the past two years has now made it unaffordable for most first-time buyers to acquire their own homes as salaries have only increased by about 7% p.a. over the same period."
Rode's Property News

'Willing seller' rejected
The Witness - South Africa
Delegates at the Land Summit on Sunday rejected land reform policy based on the willing buyer/willing seller principle.

"The summit took a resolution to say that needs to be done away with. Government must come up with another mechanism that is not a simple thing," Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Thoko Didiza's spokesman Steve Galane said.

Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said at the start of the summit on Wednesday that the principle is to slow down land reform.

She told delegates the principle will have to be revisited as the state is the only buyer and farmers often ask exorbitant prices for their land.
The Witness

Western Cape property sales drop 50%
Moneyweb - South Africa
Property sales in the Western Cape coastal and country areas have dropped by 50% since the start of this year, owing to strong buyer resistance to inflated asking prices, says Conrad de Swardt, Western Cape regional director for the Homenet property group.

De Swardt argues that the days of indiscriminate demand and rocketing prices are over. "Prices in some parts of the hinterland have doubled and redoubled in recent
years, and speculators and investors have generally made excellent returns," says De Swardt.

He adds there are now fewer properties on the market suiting the pockets of lower and middle-income buyers.

Land reform: 'The state will be challenged'
Mail and Guardian - South Africa
If land reform does not happen fast enough, people will organise themselves and force redistribution to occur, a Zimbabwean professor said on Thursday.

"If the state does not move when it is challenged, it will be challenged," Professor Sam Moyo, of the African Institute for Agrarian Studies, told the national land summit in Johannesburg.

"The social process leads and the state must then try to contain and conduct [land reform] in the correct way," he said.

The South African government is facing mounting criticism over the pace of land reform, with some groups warning of Zimbabwean-style land grabs if reform is not speeded up.

Moyo said the government should adopt a structured, radical approach instead of a structured, conservative one for land reform to be productive. People often think the Zimbabwean farm invasions were government-orchestrated because it wanted to win the elections. In fact, the invasions had social origins.
Mail and Guardian

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