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Building plans spat goes to top court
Business Report - South Africa
The constitutional court has been asked to rule on whether neighbours should have the right to object to the building plans of adjacent properties before they are approved by local authorities.

According to Local Government Research Centre director Clive Keegan, at issue is whether a municipality is under a duty in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act to give the neighbours notice of building or alteration applications they receive, and an opportunity to make representations before it decides on the applications.

In this case, the constitutional court has been asked for leave to appeal against a judgment by Judge Roger Cleaver in the Cape Town high court, which dismissed an application by Azeem Walele for an order setting aside the Cape Town municipality's decision to approve an application by his neighbour, Akber Allie, to erect a four-storey block of flats in Woodstock.

A-G plans to help break deadlock
The Australian - Australia
Federal Attorney General Robert McClelland is planning to intervene to help break the deadlock keeping South Australia out of the national regulatory system for lawyers.

Mr McCleland intends to talk to state Attorney-General Michael Atkinson and outline the benefits for the state of joining the national system.

"It is very disappointing that other states were not able to move as fast as NSW and Victoria have done," Mr McClelland said.

Model legislation regulating the legal profession had been in place in NSW and Victoria for about three years, Mr McClelland said, "and South Australia has still not delivered".
The Australian

Land process blamed for costly homes
Business Day - South Africa
A lengthy "land to stand" process might be adding as much as 20% to the cost of a residential unit and could explain big price increases experienced in the affordable housing market, the Banking Association of SA said yesterday.

Although the perception existed that cost increases were due to developer profits and increases in the prices of materials and finance costs, the banking industry suspected it might be due to the lengthy period it took to transform a piece of raw land into a serviced stand ready for development.

"The development approval process is too lengthy and goes through multiple (government) departments a number of times, which slows the whole thing down," said Pierre Venter, financial services charter co-ordinator for housing within the Banking Association.

Nedbank Property (Cape) set on 15% increase in turnover
RodneyHayter.com - South Africa
- For the property sector the year ahead will be one of "constraints" says Richard Thomas, Divisional Director of Nedbank Corporate Property Finance (Cape) - but despite the market limitations, Nedbank Property (Cape) is budgeting for a 15% increase in turnover and should end 2008 with total assets up by 15% to R13,5 billion.

For developers the constraints, said Thomas, will be caused by the slow-down in the global economy (especially the USA), the ongoing shortages of electric power, the lack of trained personnel in all fields, the higher than anticipated inflation and the increasing uncertainty in the minds of international investors about the political future of South Africa.

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