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Property to be expropriated for Gautrain
SABC News - South Africa
Property in the vicinity of Rosebank, Park and Sandton Railway Stations will be the first to be expropriated to make way for the Gautrain line, the Gauteng government said today. Land in Midrand will also be expropriated for the construction of the maintenance depot and land in Marlboro for the tunnel portal.

Barbara Jensen, the Gautrain spokesperson, says land would be expropriated in areas where construction would begin first. She said conditions had been placed on the land affected by the Gautrain. Jansen said: "These require that no approvals for township establishments, subdivisions of land or any changes in land use may be granted within the rail reserve area without consent of Ignatius Jacobs, MEC for public transport, roads and works.

Restricting foreigners' property ownership
Moneyweb - South Africa
President Thabo Mbeki's recent announcement that restrictions will be introduced on foreigners' property ownership this year sparked fresh debate around the possible impact this could have on the South African economy, especially on general foreign investment.

At first glance, this proposal may appear investor-unfriendly, but such restrictions are actually relatively common globally.

The extent and types of restrictions on foreigners' land ownership differ markedly across countries. For example, Mexico and Chile don't allow foreigners to buy property near their borders. Only foreigners living in Indonesia, and whose presence is seen as beneficial to national development, can own property there and they cannot own more than one property. Singapore has similar restrictions.

Land Registry wins prestigious IT award
Egovmonitor - UK
Land Registry, the largest IT employer in the Plymouth area, is delighted to announce that it has won a national Best Places to Work in IT Award. John Wright, Director of Information Systems, collected the award at a ceremony held in London last week.

China renews an old ideological fight
International Herald Tribune - USA
For the first time in perhaps a decade, the National People's Congress, the Communist Party-run legislature now convened in its annual two-week session, is consumed with an ideological debate over socialism and capitalism that many assumed had been buried by China's long streak of fast economic growth.

The controversy has forced the government to shelve a draft law to protect property rights that had been expected to win pro forma passage. It has also highlighted the resurgent influence of a small but vocal group of socialist-leaning scholars and policy advisers.

These old-style leftist thinkers have used China's rising income gap and increasing social unrest to raise doubts about what they see as the country's headlong pursuit of private wealth and market-driven economic development.
International Herald Tribune

Sharp slowdown in building plans
business.iafrica.com - South Africa
The value of building plans passed by larger municipalities in South Africa fell by 39.9 percent in January 2006 to R4.173-billion from the record R6.948-billion passed in August 2005, Statistics South Africa said on Wednesday.

The building data confirms the sharp slowdown in growth in the second half of last year and comes after Customs reported a record foreign trade deficit, which subtracts from gross domestic product, for January 2006 of R7.668-billion for its trade with non-Southern African Customs Union trading partners after a surplus of R3.86-billion in December.

State urged to issue title deeds on shacks
Rodneyhayter.com - South Africa
Regulation of shanty towns in the form of title deeds for shacks should be the next step in the government's incentive programme for the property industry, says property professional Bryan Biehler, joint MD of Huizemark.

Biehler was commenting on the recent changes to transfer duty announced in the budget which lifts the threshold on transfer duty to R500,000. Transfer duty payable on houses above R500,000 is now 5% and 8% will apply to values above R1 million.

"Giving people title to their shacks would be a major step in uplifting the quality of life of shack dwellers. Regulating ownership and transfer of shacks would provide huge impetus for the housing market at the lower end."

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