June 2017

SA Human Settlements On Property Practitioners Ombudsman

Property Practitioners Ombud is a need

Property Practitioners applauded the envisaged establishment of an Ombud Office to serve as an appeal platform for estate agents on matters that the internal remedies fail to resolve.

The Western Cape General Manager of the Institute of Estate Agents South Africa (IEASA) Ms Annette Evans said the creation of an Ombud will assist the Estate Agents in dealing with the difficult and unresolved matters.

"There are complains that the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) has not addressed properly and the creation of an Ombud Office will be instrumental in insuring that, as an independent body it makes impartial decisions", said Evans.

Evans was speaking at the Public Participation session held in Cape Town to promote the Property Practitioners Bill and the Home Loan and Mortgage Disclosure Amendment Bill.

The published envisaged laws are public documents and the Public Participation sessions allow all South Africans and practitioners in the property sector to comment and give further inputs.

Adv. Jan Tladi from the EAAB said that the Ombud may only handle the matter if all internal remedies within the Authority have been exhausted.

"If subsequent to the satisfaction of legislation formulation process the Ombud creation proposal is accepted, the Minister of Human Settlements will appoint a suitably qualified person as Property Practitioners Ombud for a period not exceeding five years. The Office of the Ombud must be appropriately resourced to be able to execute its functions", added the Adv Tladi.

The public comments are a necessary requisite to complete the work of the Department of Human Settlements that drafted the amendments following a review of the impact of current legislations and inputs from stakeholders on challenges related to fair lending practices and transformation in the property sector.

The next Public Participation sessions will be held in the following provinces:

SA Human Settlements On Fake Requests for Quotations

Be warned of fraudulent or fake Requests for Quotations (RFQ) issued in the name of the Department of Human Settlements (DHS).

Some of these fraudulent activities even use fake social media accounts which promise tenders and other economic opportunities within human settlements sector in the name of the Minister and other officials within the Department of Human Settlements.

The latest of these scams is a request for quotation (RFQ) of JPNW 240W LED POWER FLOOD LIGHTS. This fraudulent request is issued in the name of the Deputy Director General, Sindisiwe Ngxongo. The Human Settlements domain is @dhs.gov.za but the used for this RFQ is @dhsgovza.co.

We request potential suppliers to be vigilant when responding to these RFQs. We applaud members of the public who continue to alert or seek clarity from the Department when they receive these suspicious requests.

Members of the public and potential suppliers are warned of these fraudulent activities and are encouraged to report them to the law enforcement agencies.

Issued by: Department of Human Settlements http://www.gcis.gov.za/

Zimbabwe's Road Administration Suspend Top Brass

By Takunda Maodza

Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) has suspended its top brass in finance, administration and human resources departments on charges which include violating tender and procurement procedures, The Herald has learnt.

Director, administration and human resources Mr Precious Murove, finance manager Mr Shadreck Matengabadza and administration manager Mr Peter Bweterere were suspended on Wednesday.

The trio's suspension came a week after Zinara suspended its finance director Mr Simon Taranhike. While details on Mr Taranhike's suspension are still sketchy, it is reportedly linked to non-adherence to prescribed processes and procedures.

READ MORE: http://www.herald.co.zw/zinara-suspends-top-brass/

Massive Namibian Road Project in Pipeline

By Nuusita Ashipala

Ongwediva — The Ministry of Works and Transport plans to construct earth roads measuring 900 kilometres over the next 20 years as part of its Master Plan for Sustainable Transport for the four northern regions.

The road construction is part of plans to extend access roads in rural areas where the majority of Namibians live.

The master plan for Ohangwena, Oshana, Oshikoto and Omusati regions was recently launched in Helao Nafidi.

READ MORE: https://www.newera.com.na/2017/06/29/massive-road-project-in-pipeline/

Mixta - Opportunities Exist in Affordable Housing

By Bennett Oghifo

It is very easy to go into the middle and high-end of the property market but if you can really tackle the affordable market issues, then you will definitely reap the opportunities there, says Mr. Kola Ashiru-Balogun the Managing Director of Mixta Nigeria, an ARM company.

The affordable property market is one segment most real estate developers avoid for various reasons, but which once surmounted could sprint fortunes, said Mr. Kola Ashiru-Balogun, Managing Director of Mixta Nigeria, a company of ARM.

ARM acquired Mixta Africa and it renamed ARM Properties Mixta Nigeria and what they have done since then, according to Ashiru-Balogun, was to restrategise and "we said the number one thing is to focus on affordable housing.

READ MORE: http://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/06/28/mixta-opportunities-exis...

Mashonaland Needs New Schools While Over 30, 000 Classrooms Nationwide Must Be Renovated

The ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has identified 33,636 classrooms which are in a "dangerous" condition and are in urgent need of rehabilitation in the country with Mashonaland West and central requiring more new schools.

This was revealed by a research which the minister Lazarus Dokora's portfolio commissioned in 2015 and recently published.

According to the research, nearly 40% of classrooms in primary and secondary schools were in need of minor repairs to walls, roofs and/or floors.

READ MORE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201706290203.html

Dar Construction Fair to Attract 200 Exhibitors

Dar es Salaam — Consulting firm Mikono Speakers will host more than 200 exhibitors in the Dar Construction Trade Expo 2017.

The event is scheduled to take place along with the East Africa Smart Building Conference on August 17-18 and more than 1,000 industry stakeholders are expected to attend, the company said in a statement yesterday.

Works, Transport and Communications minister Makame Mbarawa is expected to officiate at the event.

READ MORE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201706280731.html

Rebuilding Memories: Meticulous Miniatures by Iraqi Immigrant Ali Alamedy

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

Born in Karbala during the Iraq-Iran War while his father was imprisioned by Saddam Hussein as a dissident, Ali Alamedy turned to books as a means of escape, wishing he could transport himself into the fictional settings between the pages. Later, as an adult, he began to bring those scenes to life – along with places from his own memories, and recreations of places that only exist in his imagination – in finely rendered miniature. In Arabic, the word ‘miniature’ translates to ‘a small painting on paper,’ so he didn’t find out about the existence of dioramas outside of his own art until he started searching for these words in English on the internet.

UCLG to report on the localization of the SDGs at the High Level Political Forum

High Level Political Forum

A delegation of local and regional governments, facilitated by UCLG on behalf of the Global Taskforce, will attend the 5th High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) from 10-19 July, 2017.

The HLPF is the central UN platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda, and is therefore a vital space for local and regional governments to underline the role of strong local leadership and commitment in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The theme of the 2017 panel will be "Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world". 

UCLG will contribute to the HLPF with a report on the implementation of the SDGs at sub-national level.

Sub-national monitoring to complement voluntary national reports

The international monitoring and reporting of the SDGs is being undertaken directly by UN agencies and national governments through a system of Voluntary National Reviews to the HLPF. UCLG and the Global Taskforce networks will contribute to the HLPF’s yearly assessment cycles using a global reporting mechanism that monitors implementation from the perspective of local and regional governments.

Transforming Barcelona by imagining the future

Photo Credit : Xavier Jubierre

By Gerardo Pisarello, First Deputy Mayor of Barcelona 

Our city can be the torchbearer of a fairer economy and a new, progressive urbanism.

The 21st century, it’s been said, won’t be the century of empires or states, but the century of cities. Large cities and metropolitan regions will be on the front line of responding to global phenomena like the tech revolution, climate change, inequalities and urban speculation.

In the past year, the population of Barcelona has grown by 3%. The employment rate is at its highest since 2009, and new businesses, exports and investments are also growing. Many of these changes are being actively supported by the municipal government. But the benefits aren’t always felt by the whole city.

Arup provides multidisciplinary engineering services on Park Square project

Arup provides multidisciplinary engineering services on Park Square projectCurrently being developed by Nedport Developments, a fully owned subsidiary of Nedbank, Park Square is a a mixed-use office and retail project situated in the Umhlanga New Town Centre in KwaZulu-Natal.
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Arup provides multidisciplinary engineering services on Park Square project

Arup provides multidisciplinary engineering services on Park Square projectCurrently being developed by Nedport Developments, a fully owned subsidiary of Nedbank, Park Square is a a mixed-use office and retail project situated in the Umhlanga New Town Centre in KwaZulu-Natal.
Read more... | Send to a friend

Dream Deep: Trippy Maps Reenvisioned by Google’s Artificial Neural Network

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

FaceApp and similar reality-warping applications are especially fun to use in ways their designers never intended. Along similar lines, Google’s DeepDream (designed for photo manipulation) creates fascinating results using photographs but is even more stunning when applied to representations of cityscapes.

While training DeepDream (a neural network that adapts like a brain to new inputs) to identify, differentiate and understand images, Google researchers discovered it could “over-interpret” results as well. In short: it could start to “read into” images from previous experience, resulting in an array of beautiful (if disturbing) hybrids.

Why the ANC may be stumbling closer to its most serious split yet

Reuters

South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) enters its 2017 policy conference riven and weakened. The five-yearly national event is the precursor to the national elective conference where its policy proposals will be adopted formally.

The party is operating under the weight of concurrent crises. It acknowledges these fleetingly, vaguely and indirectly in nine policy discussion documents that have been prepared for the conference, giving little indication of the unprecedented organisational mess it is in.

The full drama of the party’s capture, collapse or continuation will play out in debates at the conference. But it remains unclear whether or not the various factions will be able to find solutions and compromises that define the party 23 years after it came to power. It is also unclear whether the party can differentiate between the need for far-reaching change or whether it will simply stick to slogans like “radical economic transformation”.

How access to knowledge can help universal health coverage become a reality

Shutterstock

The World Health Organisation’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus has set universal health coverage as one of the main priorities for his term.

Universal health coverage is defined by the WHO as free access to promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services. These have to be of a sufficient quality to be effective but without causing unnecessary financial hardship when paying for the services.

But Ghebreyesus’s goal is a challenging one, especially for low and middle income countries which make up around 84% of the world’s population. Yet they only have access to half the physicians and a quarter of the nurses that high income countries have access to.

Similarly low and middle income countries only spend around US $266 per capita on health care. In contrast, high income countries spend a whopping US $5 251 per capita.

This means that attaining universal health coverage in poorer settings is challenging to say the least. Large cuts to foreign aid investment from a number of high income economies only compound this challenge.

To address this, affected countries need to start thinking smarter, and not simply work harder. Optimising available resources requires local researchers to apply themselves. In other words, these countries need to grow their knowledge economies.

How UWC plans to turn mountains of coal-ash into low-cost building materials

How UWC plans to turn mountains of coal-ash into low-cost building materialsThanks to groundbreaking research from the University of the Western Cape (UWC), the artificial coal-ash mountains that changed the landscape of the Highveld and Mpumalanga, posing a significant environmental threat, could become a thing of the past.
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Why the 'cost per square metre rate' should be used with caution

Why the 'cost per square metre rate' should be used with caution
© seoterra – [[www.123rf.com 123RF.com]]</span>Clients and contractors involved in the cost comparison and cost planning process in expressing building cost should use the 'cost per square metre rate' with extreme caution, advises Bert van den Heever, former president of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS).
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Group Five gives in on proxies deadline

Group Five gives in on proxies deadline
© Ivan Kruk – [[www.123rf.com 123RF.com]]</span>Group Five has said it will withdraw the time restriction it imposed on the submission of proxy votes for the coming extraordinary general meeting of shareholders.
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Laptop/Rooftop: Chicago Apple Store is Crowned with a Giant MacBook

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

Construction is in full swing on Chicago’s new Apple store by Foster + Partners, revealing a surprise design feature that wasn’t visible in the firm’s early renderings: a gigantic MacBook for a roof. When the project was initially unveiled in 2015, the drawings depicted a sleek two-story structure with river views, glass walls and a slimline roof canopy that looks like it’s precariously balancing on slender supports. But construction crews recently added a shiny metallic silver finish to that canopy – and a familiar white Apple logo.

Cape Town office block converted into hotel, apartments

Cape Town - Boutique developer Signatura is evolving Nedbank’s black glass and steel modernist head office at 57 Heerengracht Street into a stylish residential and hospitality development, called The Onyx.

It is conveniently located in Cape Town's CBD - on the Foreshore opposite the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). According to the developers, it is attracting buyers ranging from seasoned investors to young professionals.

“We are particularly proud of the fact that we offer all purchasers access to a suite of amenities and services usually restricted to an exclusive hotel," says Signatura founder John Rabie. And if you buy a penthouse, it includes a Jaguar F-Pace SUV.

READ MORE: http://www.fin24.com/Companies/Property/cape-town-office-block-converted...

Fire control companies fined for price fixing and collusion

Nation Nyoka, News24

Johannesburg – Two out of seven fire control companies have agreed to pay penalties, following an investigation, after allegations of cartel conduct on their part from 1996 to 2015, the Competition Commission said in a statement on Monday.

In March, seven fire control and protection systems companies were referred by the Competition Commission to the Competition Tribunal after their investigation found that, between 1996 and 2015, the companies fixed prices, divided markets, and employed collusive tactics when bidding for tenders to install the systems in both new and old buildings.

This was contrary to the Competition Act, said Sipho Ngwema, Head of Communications at the Competition Commission of South Africa, in a statement.

READ MORE: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/fire-control-companies-fined-for-...

Durban Residents Turn to Concourt to Tear Down High-Rise 'Monstrosity'

Tania Broughton, News24 Correspondent

Durban - The developers of the controversial high-rise apartment block on Durban’s Berea had, through the “illegal rezoning” of the property, profited to the tune of about R150m through the subsequent increase in the value of the site and income from the sales of more units.

On the other hand, neighbours argue in papers lodged with the Constitutional Court on Monday, the “disfigurement” of the area meant they had collectively suffered a loss of R26m through the depreciation in value of their properties.

The neighbours are making a final legal bid to get the building, in Currie Road, torn down. They have also applied to the court for permission to appeal a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) which found in favour of the developers, Serengeti Rise Industries.

READ MORE: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/durban-residents-turn-to-concourt...

Lagos Government to Appeal Court Order Halting Nigeria Slum Demolitions

By Paola Totaro

LONDON, June 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The Lagos state government has rejected a High Court ruling that it stop a programme of evictions on the city's waterfront that has left more than 30,000 Nigerian fishermen and their families homeless.

The government of Nigeria's fast-growing mega-city of 23 million in October announced its intention to demolish all waterfront communities, home to around 300,000 people, for public safety.

Residents and rights groups say this was an excuse to help a local businessman get rid of a settlement that had existed for decades so he could build more skyscrapers, hotels and malls.

READ MORE: http://af.reuters.com/article/nigeriaNews/idAFL8N1JO1WU

Gap widens between asking and selling price - Gauteng agent

Cape Town - There seems to be a large disparity between what sellers think their home is worth and what buyers in the current market are prepared to pay for homes.

The differential between the listing price and selling price of homes in the current market can be as much as 30%, according to Cameron Jansen, broker/manager of RE/MAX Central, whose office services the central Gauteng region.

“Buyers are aware that market conditions are in their favour and as such are looking for a bargain where possible, often putting in offers that are between 25% and 30% below the seller’s listing price,” says Jansen.

READ MORE: http://www.fin24.com/Economy/gap-widens-between-asking-and-selling-price...

Developer Introduces Rent-to-Own in Lagos Property

By Bertram Nwannekanma

With personal incomes shrinking and a range of initiatives that make home buying more affordable in the country, Omais Investment Nigeria Limited is already adjusting to this trend and offering two residential projects in Gbagada and Osapa London, Lekki as rent to own homes.

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Chief Omochiere Aisagbonhi told The Guardian that the firm adopted this strategy to attract the right persons to take possession of the buildings instead of allowing it to lie idle.

To guarantee the success, he said the company has introduced a mechanism where individuals would be prequalify to come in and buy them by paying 40 per cent and spreading the rest between six to 38 months depending on each subscribers peculiar situation.

READ MORE: https://guardian.ng/news/developer-introduces-rent-to-own-in-lagos-prope...

South African Municipal Revenue Increases

Pretoria – Municipalities across the country received an income of R333 billion from all sources of income, which represents an increase of R27 billion compared to R306 billion in 2015.

“The largest contributor to municipal revenue for the year ended 30 June 2016 was grants and subsidies received (30.9%), followed by electricity sales (28.3%), property rates received (14.7%), other revenue (11.0%), water sales (8.9%), sewerage and sanitation charges (3.5%) and refuse removal charges (2.7%),” Statistician-General of South Africa Dr Pali Lehohla said.

The revenue for metropolitan municipalities in 2016 was R191 billion compared to R178 billion in 2015, while the revenue for local municipalities for 2016 was R116 billion compared to R106 billion in 2015.

The revenue for districts municipalities in 2016 was R250 billion compared to R229 billion in 2015.

Dr Lehohla released the results of the 2016 Financial Census of Municipalities in Pretoria on Wednesday.

The survey collected a variety of financial information from local, district and metropolitan municipalities.

The financial data is for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016 for all 278 municipalities.

The municipal expenditure patterns showed that municipalities spent a total of R311 billion in 2016.

“The largest contributor to municipal total operating expenditure was employee related costs (26.3%), followed by electricity purchases (22.6%), depreciation and amortisation (8.9%), other expenditure (8.2%), bad debts (6.7%), contracted services (5.9%), water purchases (5.6%), general expenditure (5.5%), repairs and maintenance (4.4%), interest paid (2.8%), grants and subsidies paid (2.0%) and remuneration of councillors (1.1%),” Dr Lehohla said.

According to the statistics, expenditure for metropolitan municipalities in 2016 was R175 billion compared to 2015 when it was R161 billion.

The DRC is revisiting its mining code. Why reform is long overdue

A worker walks near the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' in the southern province of Katanga REUTERS/Jonny Hogg

The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recently announced plans to reintroduce the shelved changes to the country’s mining code.

The current mining code, introduced in 2002, was based on a draft prepared under the auspices of the World Bank. Its primary objective was to relaunch the industrial mining sector following the Congo Wars of 1996 to 2003 by opening it up to foreign investors. While it has been successful in achieving this goal, the benefits to Congolese people are more difficult to discern.

Today the DRC is Africa’s largest copper producer and the world’s largest cobalt producer. Its mining sector contributes 22% of GDP and 28% of government revenue. Yet the most recent Human Development Report ranks the DRC 176 out of 188 countries, with a life expectancy of 59 and 77% of the population living below the income poverty line.

The latest round of changes were originally submitted to parliament in March 2015, but the amendment process was suspended due to collapsed commodity prices and fierce industry opposition.

How badly implemented land reform can affect wildlife: a Zimbabwean case study

Land reform is thought to have caused the cheetah numbers to fall by 85% in Zimbabwe. Sam Williams, CC BY-SA

Large carnivores are in decline all over the world. Threats like persecution and loss of both prey and habitat are key contributors. The planet’s top biodiversity hotspots have already lost around 90% of their primary (undisturbed) vegetation, driven by factors like growth of infrastructure, agriculture and the removal of natural resources.

These are some of the key factors that have caused the number of wild lions across the globe to fall by over 40% in the past two decades, and have resulted in a decline in the number of cheetahs of 50% over the past forty years.

Kenya needs to protect elderly people during drought and famine emergencies

Spending on older people is an investment, not a cost. Reuters/Luc Gnago

Pockets of Kenya are affected by harsh drought. About 4 million people in the country face hunger, starvation, malnutrition and possible death. North eastern and eastern Kenya bear the brunt of this natural catastrophe.

While drought hits everyone, people aged above 70 years are disproportionately affected. Certain conditions associated with old age, such as decreased physical strength, can aggravate their situation.

Kenya has about 2 million people aged above 60 years representing about 4% of the total population (46 million). The older population is projected to increase to about 9 million by 2050 to make up for approximately 9% of the total population.

In light of this rapid demographic change, the Kenyan government has a policy that recognises the increased vulnerability of older people to famine and similar situations.

ANC policy papers point to a party in a panic about losing power

Reuters/Mike Hutchings

The documents released ahead of the upcoming policy conference of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) expose a panicking party that sees enemies everywhere. While previous policy conferences addressed real policy issues, all energies are now focused on retaining state power as the leadership faces damning claims of capture by a kleptocratic elite.

The discussion documents show a party that professes a desire for self-correction and renewal. But, it seems to have neither the guts, nor the necessary internal balance of forces to do so.

At the same time the documents point to deepening paranoia and an increasingly authoritarian tendency. In combination, they seem to emanate from a parallel universe where the party’s interests have become elevated above those of the South African society at large.

Some of the text show a party that’s going through the motions. There’s trotting out of lofty ideals left over from when it still occupied the moral high ground. It’s a rhetoric that used to be meaningful and powerful. But it’s been emptied out by the ANC’s increasing failure to harness the state’s resources for the good of all.