Sapoa ‘frustrated’ in efforts to work with state

Posted On Wednesday, 08 June 2005 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Pie Act causes frustration

Sapoa CEO Neil GopalCommercial property association Sapoa has expressed “frustration and annoyance” at the housing department’s indifference to its efforts to work with government on amending the controversial Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Amendment Bill.

The department says, however, that Sapoa’s comments on the issue were considered.

Sapoa CEO Brian Kirchmann says the department has given Sapoa the cold shoulder in spite of its offer of expertise to expedite research and debate on the matter. He says the department seems to be dragging its feet on making a decision on the bill.

When Sapoa met former housing minister Brigitte Mabandla 18 months ago, it was assured “this pressing issue would be addressed immediately”.

“But there are still no answers,” he says.

“The problem has escalated and our members want action.”

Kirchmann says the original legislation intended to deal only with the occupation of land. But there was a loophole that included commercially let buildings.

A situation developed where rental defaulters refused to vacate buildings, saying owners had to provide alternative accommodation, says Kirchmann.

“Sapoa initiated a meeting with government and the ministry agreed with Sapoa’s comments,” he says. “They said they would amend the legislation (to remove this loophole).

“It’s now been brought to our notice that no amendments have been made and we have not been consulted for 18 months.”

Kirchmann says it seems government does not “take the private sector seriously”.

“Sapoa understands there are other pressing issues in this department, but this matter is causing great concern and costing our members millions.”

But housing department spokesman Thabang Chiloane says Sapoa’s comments were considered “like all other comments”, although they may not have been reflected verbatim.

He says the issue has been referred back to the department by Parliament’s housing portfolio committee. The department will hold further talks with the land affairs, justice and provincial and local government departments, as there are three pieces of legislation dealing with eviction and the committee wants to ensure they are aligned.

Kirchmann says Sapoa has encountered similar problems with other government agencies. He said recently that Sapoa had been promised the chance to hold a workshop on changes to stamp-duty legislation. But in January the South African Revenue Service said it was implementing a flat-rate stamp duty, which in effect doubles the duty on leases of five years or less.

Last modified on Saturday, 07 June 2014 17:56

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