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Durban's new billing system to be phased in
iol.co.za - South Africa
Eight years after it was given the go-ahead by the eThekwini Municipality, the long-awaited but controversial Revenue Management System (RMS) is expected to go live in January next year.

This emerged at yesterday's executive committee meeting during a presentation by municipal officials Jacquie Subban and Bob Gangadaran.

The computerised billing system would be phased in gradually by geographic areas, said Gangadaran, who added that low-risk customers, who were good payers and not in arrears, would be the first to be moved to the new system.

With 800 000 customers, Subban said it would be a risk trying to manage all of them at once. The R474 million system has been a contentious issue with councillors and city officials because of constant delays in its go live date.

Residential Building Statistics
Absa - South Africa
Levels of residential building activity deteriorate in the first quarter of 2012 The first quarter of 2012 saw levels of residential building activity in the South African market for new housing deteriorating. Both the planning and construction phases of new residential property development experienced lower levels of activity on a quarterly as well as an annual basis in the first three months of the year.

On the planning side, the number of new housing units for which building plans were approved by local government institutions was down by 1 783 units to a total of 11 226 in the first quarter from a year ago. This decline was largely evident in the segments for smaller-sized houses and flats and townhouses, while from a regional perspective the Western Cape and Gauteng provinces were the main contributors to the drop in building plans approved for new housing, followed by the Free State.

The construction phase of new housing experienced a marginal drop of 140 units in the first quarter of the year to a total of 9 391 units compared with the same period in 2011. Only the category of smaller-sized houses, i.e. houses of less than 80m², recorded a drop in first-quarter construction volumes from a year ago, with the other two segments registering double-digit year-on-year growth. At a regional level Gauteng was the main supporting factor in the construction of new housing in the first quarter, showing growth of 37,4% year-on-year (y/y), or 1 277 units, from the corresponding period last year. The number of new housing units built was down in six of the nine provinces in the first quarter on a year-on-year basis.
Building stats _March 2012_

Prof must demolish R6m home that spoils neighbour's view
Sunday Times - South Africa
After an epic, nine-year battle the Grahamstown High Court has finally ordered tax expert and Rhodes University professor Matthew Lester to demolish his four-bedroom, triple-storey home.

The dome-shaped mansion, according to court papers, contravenes building regulations and obstructs the priceless ocean view of Lester's wealthy neighbour, James Haslam, 70.

The semi-retired engineering executive is famous for patenting the dual-flush toilet.

Lester said he had already splashed out more than R1 million in legal fees and was turning to the Supreme Court of Appeal to have the ruling set aside. He said it would cost him R8 million to demolish and rebuild his home.

"I'm shattered ... this is my family home ... but it's not over yet," he said.

Household, consumer and retail sector – March SARB Leading Business Cycle Indicator
FNB - South Africa
Month-on-month growth in the March SARB Leading Indicator slows, perhaps just starting to provide early explanation of loss of momentum in retail and month-on-month house price growth.
So, while it is too early to draw firm conclusions, a month-on-month growth slowdown in the SARB Leading Indicator would appear to be in line with certain other more up to date indicators, suggesting that the economy is moving into a “softer patch” of late. While the Leading Indicator of SA’s major trading partner countries remained a positive contributor in March, other indicators such as certain manufacturing figures and commodity prices appeared to reflect a global economy under some mild pressure, and especially Europe’s woes have been well publicised. Such weakening was also seen in March and April in global manufacturing and services purchasing managers’ indices as combined into the JPMorgan Global Purchasing Managers Index.

The implication is expected to be that both real retail sales growth and house price growth taper off in the coming months, as the economy slows real household disposable income growth.
Household Sector_March SARB Leading Indicator_May 2012


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