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'Apartheid' town planning must go
Business.iafrica.com - South Africa
Too often land for the poor is demarcated far from employment opportunities in apartheid fashion, President Thabo Mbeki told the SA Local Government Association (SALGA) conference at Midrand on Monday.

"Except for a few cases there is still a settlement pattern for poor black people to be on the outskirts of town, far from employment," he said.

Access to the good land
"It is unacceptable for the allocation of land close to employment centres to be solely for the upper end of the income market."

This was a failure to use housing as a catalyst to integrate communities separated by apartheid, Mbeki said.

He further criticised the lack of sufficient sports grounds and parks being built in housing developments. "Many children grow up with no place to play."

Though Mbeki received a warm welcome from the 1500 or so delegates, he also criticised many for not responding to the needs of the community.

HIPs come under attack weeks before launch
Citywire.co.uk - UK
With the introduction on 1 June of compulsory Home Information Packs for home sellers only just over a month away, the criticisms continue to come thick and fast.

'I do not believe that HIPs in their current form will have any effect on the fluidity of the market,' said Adam Stackhouse, director of sales at Chesterton Global.

'The information contained within them is simply not comprehensive enough to speed up the conveyancing process. The biggest single thing that the government could do to make a difference to the balance of the housing market is to adjust Stamp Duty levels.

'This would help it flow more freely by allowing a more traditional spread of buyers, such as first-time buyers - a group which has been dwindling in numbers with the price increases of the last year or so.'

Clarity needed on coastal bill
Business.iafrica.com - South Africa
The new integrated Coastal Management Bill has been set up to "protect the coast", but there seems to be an amount of uncertainty over what this actually means and who actually owns the land.

There is "ambiguity" in certain clauses of the new Bill, warns Peter Venter, chairperson of the Western Cape branch of the Institute of Estate Agents. This, he says, affects the "status of, and confidence in, coastal properties - ultimately reducing their value".

Protecting the coast
"The thinking behind the act, and the goals it sets, are in line with international conservation rulings, and recognise that coastal property belongs not to any one individual but to the nation, while sensitive coastal and estuarine areas need on-going protection," says Venter.
"In line with this thinking, access to certain areas has to be maintained while the public have, at the same time, to be prevented from damaging them."

The transfer process explained...
Iafrica.com - South Africa
The reams of documents and raft of legalities surrounding buying and selling property can be daunting. But like most things, a basic understanding of the procedures involved can make the experience far less intimidating.

Julia Ward - a partner at Cape Town law firm, Delport Ward & Pienaar - cuts through the conveyancing clutter facing property buyers.

What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the name given to the specialised process of transferring immovable property from one person to another. A conveyancer is an admitted attorney who has passed a specialised exam and been admitted by the High Court as such.

In a nutshell, conveyancing encompasses all property-related work, including the registration of transfer of immovable property (such as vacant land, flats, commercial or residential property), bonds over immovable property as well as subdivisions and consolidations of property in the deeds office.

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