Decision not to impose moratorium welcomed

The decision not to impose a short term moratorium on the sale of land to foreigners has been welcomed by Samuel Seeff, chairman of Seeff Properties.

The decision was announced in Parliament on March 8.

The moratorium on land sales had been proposed in an interim report by a ministerial task team set to investigate the foreign purchasing issue following President Mbeki’s State of the Nation address last month during which he indicated that the land sales to foreigners would be regulated this year.

Seeff, who has rigorously opposed the proposal since it was announced, says in a press release that “the ban would have adversely affected the country and not just the property market.”

He maintains that any reasons for future regulations should be comprehensively researched and clearly defined. “If the government has concerns that large tracts of land that may one day be needed for development of low-cost housing, then they should target that particular element and instruct that for certain sizes (say 20 hectares of land), the sale of land to foreigners will be frozen pending a feasibility query as to whether that would or would not be good for South Africa.

They should not put a break on the entire market by throwing out irresponsible comments without sufficient explanation, says Seeff.

"For the government or any representative or commission of the government, to say there should be a moratorium, is not acceptable. This does not only damage the property industry, but the country as a whole. Unfortunately, comparisons are drawn to Zimbabwe. While we do not see ourselves in this league, foreigners without the knowledge and understanding of the difference between the two countries, have a heightened sense of fear regarding land-grabs by government.
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