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Case study: Land Registry
WhatPC - UK
Managing risk in the public sector
Liz Hirst is running a £310m programme to transform the way we buy and sell houses in England and Wales. For the past three years she has been director of the e-conveyancing programme at Land Registry, the organisation that guarantees everyone's title to their property when buying houses.

'We started off by looking at how miserable house-buying can be,' she says. 'About one quarter of chains fall apart before completion. Given that people move house every seven years, there is a lot of misery to spread around.'

Her objective is to take the whole process online. 'For the first time, everyone in a chain can see what everyone else is up to. We are also speeding things up for conveyancers and lenders.'

R154m windfall for Saambou clients
Moneyweb.co.za - South Africa
Today, former Saambou home loan clients have reason to smile. FNB is dishing out about R154m to former Saambou clients who were overcharged interest on their home loans.

The payments of capital plus interest have been paid into newly-opened individual call accounts at FNB for these clients, who will also not be charged any fees or costs for this account, said FNB's CEO of home loans Ed Grondel.

This move has been made because at least 70% of the original accounts have already been paid up in FNB's books.

The bank wants to ensure that customers do not lose more interest and do not want to run the risk of posting cheques to the wrong addresses. Cheques get stale and are vulnerable to fraud, Grondel told Moneyweb.

Buying off-plan? Dissect the contract
Moneyweb.co.za - South Africa
Rising numbers of people who buy townhouses and apartments off-plan are being faced with the nasty prospect of having the date of delivery of their units postponed.

And while many developers give buyers adequate notice of the delay in delivery, some inform buyers less than a month before occupation that they are no longer able to take ownership of the unit on the specified day.

The consequences can be grim, especially for those who were renting and decided that they are no longer going to service someone else's bond, as they may have given the required month's notice already - leaving them highly inconvenienced and technically homeless.

Row continues about state property law
Iol.co.za - South Africa
A new law to regulate the administration of the government's immovable property hangs in the balance after MPs insisted on Wednesday that it should be broadened to cover municipalities.

The Government Immovable Asset Management Bill is currently before parliament and lawmakers have been working on it for almost three years after Cabinet raised concerns in 2003 that such a law was needed to "govern the maintenance, handling and disposal of immovable assets" of the State.

The late public works minister Stella Sigcau was mandated to develop a policy framework to govern the management of immovable State assets such as land and buildings.

Shaky foundations
Financial Mail - South Africa
Managerial bungling casts doubt on project model
Cape Town's N2 Gateway housing development is more than just another housing project gone wrong.

At stake is whether housing minister Lindiwe Sisulu's "groundbreaking" policy can work or whether it is an experiment that isnot likely to be repeated.

The Gateway project is the national pilot of Sisulu's social housing policy, which intends to break apartheid patterns of settlement where poor people are relegated to the outskirts of the city. It also intends to give poor people more attractive homes.

But the project has run into big problems: it is way behind schedule, far over budget and plagued by mismanagement and suspected corruption. The three levels of government that are jointly responsible continually act unilaterally. In particular, Cape Town mayor Helen Zille and Sisulu appear to have vastly different notions of who is responsible for what.
Financial Mail

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