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Property corruption shocker: lawyers take funds
RealEstateWeb.co.za - South Africa
More than 100 law firms, conveyancers fingered in housing subsidy forensic audit report.

Since the introduction of housing subsidies to assist buyers access finance for entry-level properties, lawyers as well as government officials have been helping themselves to subsidy funds unlawfully.

This is one of the shock findings to emerge in a report released on Wednesday on fraud and corruption undertaken by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) at the request of the national department of housing. Investigators have found that in KwaZulu Natal province alone, 111 firms of attorneys and conveyancers have been involved and are under investigation on charges of corruption and fraud in connection with low-income housing subsidies.

This report was requested by the Minister of Housing Dr Lindiwe Sisulu in 2007 following financial losses and a perceived lack of control over the housing subsidy scheme.

Exodus of the estate agents
Business Day - South Africa
Summit TV speaks to Herschel Jawitz chief executive of Jawitz Properties about the poor state of the residential property markets that can't support the large numbers of those who got in when times were good

Giulietta Talevi: Welcome to Face to Face. A report out on Wednesday says over 55,000 estate agents have so far lost their jobs and more could follow - just how difficult is it out there at the moment? Herschel, would you agree that 55,000 jobs in the estate agency sector have been lost to date?

Herschel Jawitz: I'm not specifically sure that 55,000 is the number but I have no doubt that we have seen tens of thousands of estate agents leaving the industry. It's also important to clarify that while certainly some agencies may have asked agents to leave I would probably say that the vast majority have left of their own accord simply because they cannot compete and do sales in this market. Even though interest rates are coming down and even though inflation seems to be under control we still have to run through this year so the number may approach 55,000 by the time 2009 is finished.
Business Day

Check where your levies are going
RodneyHayter.com - South Africa
Property owners in estates and cluster complexes should ensure that they get good value for their monthly levies - by ensuring that their homeowners' association (HOA) has a proper constitution.

Levies collected each month, according to an article in the Chas Everitt International February newsletter, are intended for the upkeep of communal property such as gardens, recreation facilities, fences and security systems, and are managed by an HOA set up by all the owners in a particular gated community.

Housing agency set up to tackle backlogs
Business Report.co.za - South Africa
The government has established the Housing Development Agency (HDA) to address housing development needs as it races against the clock to eradicate informal settlements and deliver two million homes by 2014.

The agency was formally launched on
Monday by housing minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Headed by chief executive Taffy Adler, the entity will have an operation budget of R50 million in the 2009/10 financial year and will spend at least R400 million a year acquiring land to meet housing needs.
Business Report

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