Foreigners Fret Over SA's Land Confusion -- Sapoa

Posted On Tuesday, 28 March 2006 02:00 Published by
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FOREIGN investors expressed concern about a lack of clarity on the foreign land ownership issue in SA at a recent international property exhibition in Cannes, France, commercial property association Sapoa said yesterday.

Business Day

March 28, 2006

Nick Wilson
Johannesburg

FOREIGN investors expressed concern about a lack of clarity on the foreign land ownership issue in SA at a recent international property exhibition in Cannes, France, commercial property association Sapoa said yesterday.

TC Chetty, president of Sapoa, which facilitated a South African property stand with other local property companies at the Mipim Expo earlier this month, said yesterday the most-asked question at the Sapoa stand related to foreign land ownership in SA.

"There was a lot of concern about the lack of clarity on the issue. While there was a lot of interest in investing in SA, most indicated they would need greater clarity on the issue and a definitive policy statement from government before looking to seriously invest. They are nervous," said Chetty.

More than 25000 delegates from 100 countries attended the property exhibition. Foreign land ownership has been a contentious issue in SA in recent years, with some commentators claiming that demand from foreigners for property has driven up property prices.

A panel appointed by Land Affairs Minister Thoko Didiza in 2004 to investigate foreign land ownership in SA recommended last month a moratorium on foreign land ownership. This followed remarks made by President Thabo Mbeki that restrictions would be imposed on foreign property ownership, but they would be in line with international norms and practices.

Government has since moved to quell the concerns, saying there would be no short-term moratorium on the sale of land to foreigners.

Chetty, who was speaking at a Sapoa strategic review session in Inanda, also said it was disappointing that none of the South African cities had come on board to exhibit at the Sapoa stand at the Cannes exhibition. He said the southern Russian city of Krasnodar had had a "major" exhibition.

"It just shows how east Europeans are competing for investment dollar. We're sitting back and expecting it to happen, and it won't happen unless SA and particularly the cities and regions start aggressively marketing themselves," he said.

Chetty said SA could not see the 2010 Soccer World Cup as the "be all and end all", and needed to think beyond this event.
 
"People are not just going to throw foreign direct investment at the country because of the World Cup. We have to go out there and prove we have a good investment product."

He said Sapoa had contacted South African cities in a bid to get them involved in their property exhibition stand.

But the organisation received a "negative response", with none of the cities bothering to take them up on their offer.

 


Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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