7 best satellite towns in India to invest in

Satellite towns, which started emerging around 15 years ago, to ease the mounting pressure on major Indian cities, are fast turning into real estate hotspots. We list some of the major satellite cities in the country, which are worth investing in

The most important aspect that encourages the development of satellite towns, is the presence of good connectivity. Once easy accessibility is in place, other things like infrastructure, amenities, residential areas, etc., tend to follow. During the growth phase of satellite towns, property rates are lower than the prime areas and when the satellite towns themselves become prime areas, the rates increase.

According to Sunil Aggarwal, associate dean and director, RICS School of Built Environment, “Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru have benefitted the most, from the emergence of satellite towns. However, there is a need to utilise the land within cities more effectively. There is a lot of good quality land within cities that is either unutilised or underutilised and this has to change.” Given below, are some of the prominent Indian satellite cities that property investors can consider.

Gurugram

This started off as a satellite town of Delhi and over the years, due to its excellent link via the Delhi Metro and highways, Gurugram has emerged as a prime city real estate destination. Now, it has surrounding areas – for example Sohna – which have become satellite towns to Gurugram.

“It is a continuous process of growth and development. When the prime city gets saturated, people start looking out for cheaper and better avenues. As soon as the connectivity with the surrounding areas improves, these regions start emerging as satellite towns. This way, satellite towns help in decongesting the main cities also,” says Parveen Jain, CMD of Tulip Infratech.

Sonipat

While real estate prices in the NCR remain high, satellite towns like Sonipat offer retail, residential and commercial properties at a much better rate, leaving considerable scope for investors to make profit. Another major reason for this area to emerge as a favoured destination for realty investment, is the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway, which is close to completion and will offer speedier access to the international airport and enable the growth of a new financial corridor.

New Town, Kolkata

This neighbourhood town of Kolkata is an evolving satellite city, which offers commercial spaces, entertainment hubs, high-end planned residential projects, central business centres and IT and business parks. A robust public transport system, including major arterial roads and the planned metro line that runs from Garia to Dum Dum, will add value to this destination.

“The residential property market in the Rajarhat-New Town-Barasat stretch is flourishing. It is well-connected to the city and gives buyers a variety of reasonable property options,” says Aditya Kedia, managing director, Transcon Developers.

Navi Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan, Vasai and Palghar

Areas around Mumbai city have witnessed tremendous growth, with many of them emerging as established commercial, IT/ ITeS and residential hubs. With this growth, the city limits have expanded into what is known as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), encompassing Navi Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan, Ambernath, Vasai, Palghar, etc. “This shift has given rise to the development of large land parcels that are being transformed into self-contained townships. These townships have better amenities and facilities, thus, giving customers an opportunity to lead a better lifestyle,” says Deepak Goradia, vice-chairman and managing director, Dosti Realty. Areas like Wagle Estate, Ghodbunder Road and Thane-Belapur Road, have become focal points for commercial and IT/ITeS developments.

Amravati

From being a well-known industrial destination, the city is now becoming a residential hub because of its aesthetic and pleasing architectural marvels, future plans for a smart city, presence of industries and educational centres and tourism. Experts point out that areas like Nandgaon Peth and Badnera, are expected to witness maximum development. The city also boasts of a robust rail network and airport, which will benefit its property market. Amravati enjoys connectivity to major cities like Nagpur, Mumbai, Raipur and Pune, while the NH-6 from Amravati to Jalgaon joins states like Gujarat and Maharashtra to the eastern states like Odisha.

 

Yelahanka

Yelahanka is a part of the northern suburbs of Bengaluru. Similar to other parts of Bengaluru, the growth of the IT sector, was the driving force behind the development of real estate here.

“The property prices in Yelahanka have remained within a reasonable range, as compared to other parts of the city. Although Yelahanka started as a satellite city project, it has now turned into one of the most sought-after zones in Bengaluru, not just on the residential front but also on the commercial front,” adds Kedia.

Pendurthi

The real estate market in Pendurthi, a neighbourhood of Visakhapatnam, received a major boost with the formation of the Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor, which has been a major growth driver in this region. This infrastructure project has brought with it various benefits, like improved connectivity and power transmission and delivery networks. This could further push industrial development and encourage IT companies to set up bases in the vicinity, thus, paving the way for residential real estate development.

 

Advantages of satellite cities

  • The growth of satellite cities, augurs well for the real estate market in and around metro cities.
  • Residential projects in satellite cities are often based on the integrated township model, offering its inhabitants with all comforts and infrastructure services within the locality.
  • Besides being in the neighbourhood of major cities, satellite cities also offer most of the amenities and facilities that major cities would deliver.

Source: By Anuradha Ramamirtham

Can landlords dictate terms for tenant’s guests?

Tenants’ guests, can at times, become an issue for the landlord but can a landlord control this, once he has rented out the house? We look at how landlords and tenants can handle the issue of guests, in an amicable way

A lease or leave and licence agreement, determines the relationship between a tenant and the landlord. While most tenancy agreements do not contain clauses dealing with the tenants’ guests, this can often be a source of friction between the landlord and the tenant. In flats, guests and visitors may not be an issue but in houses where the landlord himself lives, there might be some restrictions.

Aishwarya Jayaraman, a PR executive from Bengaluru, feels that since it is the landlord’s property, he has the right to decide the rules, for letting long-term guests stay.

“Landlords often tend to question the stay of friends and the best way to deal with it, is to have a mutual understanding with the landlord and take prior permission for the same.

When scouting for a rental house, ideally, choose a place that suits your lifestyle but in case you end up in a place which is a hindrance to you, try abiding by the rules of the place and live your life, without affecting or hindering the other occupants or the landlord,” advises Jayaraman.

Legal view on restrictions on guests
There are no specific legal restrictions that are applicable, in the case of visitors and guests, points out Shubika Bilkha, director, the Real Estate Management Institute (REMI).

“However, the specifications will change, based on the agreement between the landlord and the tenant. The housing society may have their own stipulations, with respect to visitors and longer stay relatives, which need to be adhered to by all society members and tenants. In the event of any misuse of the property or illegal dealings, the landlord can evict the tenant and their guest, if they are found in breach of the terms of the agreement,” Bilkha explains.

Amit B Wadhwani, managing director of Sai Estate Consultant, agrees that landlords have some legal rights but this does not include rules for guests or friends, as the house is rented by tenant.

“Restrictions are seen in some societies, where the society decides such rules internally but there is no rule in particular from the government, with respect to guests or friends visiting or staying at the rented place. The landlord cannot charge extra or above the pre-decided amount, when guests come but if the landlord has a problem, they can surely discuss it with the housing society and get a solution that is mutually beneficial,” states Wadhwani.

How landlords and tenants can maintain a healthy relationship

The relationship between the landlord and the tenant, needs to be transparent and one of mutual respect and concerns, if any, need to be outlined and agreed upon, prior to entering into the tenancy agreement.

“While it is difficult for a landlord to put any restrictions on guests of the opposite gender, it is equally important that the tenant adheres to the terms of the agreement and informs the landlord in advance, if any family members or guests will be staying for long durations.

Respecting your neighbours and maintaining a cordial relationship with your landlord, is recommended,” adds Bilkha.

Like all individuals, tenants have the right to privacy and to live with their spouse, or close family members. While this means that tenants do not have to tell the landlord, every time that have guests, make sure this does not become a practice.

As tenants are legally permitted to have guests, landlords should also refrain from raising an issue over short-term visitors. Landlords and tenants can also add a clause pertaining to long-term guests in the lease agreement, in case the tenant’s relatives or friends would be staying in the flat for long durations.

Dealing with guests in shared accommodations

If one is staying in a shared accommodation, the tenant cannot have visitors all the time, as it can disturb other co-tenants. “Always respect your roommate. Inform them and get their consent, if you plan on inviting guests over. Living with an unknown person creates awkwardness and can hinder the way the co-tenant lives,” says Jayaraman.

According to Akash Khurana, who has rented out his flat in Mumbai, “Renting out a house to a family, is not a concern but one has to be slightly more vigilant, when renting out a home to youngsters.

I made it clear to the girls who rented my house that their families can come and stay with them and while their friends can also stay for a few day, they cannot stay for months together. It is natural for a person to have friends and families over. As a landlord, one should be tolerant, as as long as there is no nuisance created by the tenants.”

To avoid disputes, the landlord should state all the conditions in the tenancy agreement. The contract should be legally registered and signed by both the parties.

There should not be any hidden clauses in the agreement and tenants should file a complaint, if the restrictions on guests are unreasonable and go beyond the agreed contract.

Tips, for landlords and tenants to avoid conflicts over guests

  • Landlords should specify all the clauses and restrictions decided by the housing society, to their tenants.
  • Tenants and their visitors/guests, should adhere to the society’s policies and regulations.
  • No party can force their demands and expect other to follow the same.
  • Rules should be mutually agreed upon.
  • Tenants should ensure that they or their guests, do not disturb others in the neighbourhood

Source: By Purnima Goswami Sharma

Masterplan Key to Building Stronger Cities in Nigeria – RICS

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Nigeria group has called for the development of stronger cities that easily absorb urban shocks and take into cognizance lives of residences irrespective of their physical challenges.This was the submission of experts who gathered during the group’s Continuous Professional Development series (CPD), entitled, “Building stronger cities, a review of the revised Lagos masterplan” which held in Lagos.

Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mrs. Dapo Thomas at the forum, explained that building stronger cities is actually more than having a master plan but having master plans/designs that take into cognizance the lives of people. She stated that as an operative development plan, masterplan is a living document, hence, the need to keep revising and reviewing it.

“Building stronger cities would also mean building communities. Lagos Government recently created the Lagos State Resilience Office. That means, we are building against shocks and stresses that could militate against the growth of cities,”she said. According to her, Lagos is one of the 100 resilience cities of the Rockefeller foundation. This, she said, places more pressing demand to keep building and changing things in line with the dynamism of human existence.

“We need to look at all facets of life, it is not only about the master plan, the master plan is actually a cross cutting issue with all of our ministries because they must have an input. Right now, the Ministry of Works has inaugurated what is called, the Masterplan Champions and this is because we recognize that there would continue to be changes in governance and in life”.

“We must be thinking about other people, particularly the disable, how can they live a well and meaningful life and achieve their goals despite their disabilities. We have to incorporate them in all our master plans. We also need to think about how to put hospitals in place, where they are easily accessible.

These are the things that we keep reviewing in our master plans”, she explained. Contributing, a town planner, Ayodele Adediran said if the cities must be built, it must build on something. He said master plans are not popular in the sense that they look restrictive, suggesting that they must be making flexible.

“As far back as 1928, master plans became popular because of the plague that broke out, claiming lives just like the building collapse. Since then, we have been the one planning while others take care of sanitation or environment and schemes of development. We used to have stronger institution framework”.

In the last 20 years, Lagos has been faithful in ensuring that regimes of preparing master plan is operational. We have to give credit to the state. Every part of Lagos is almost covered with some documents that could form basis of master plan”, he said.

Adeniran who is also NITP National Legal Adviser, said masterplans must be in relevance with the new urban agenda, inter-modal challenges of the cities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as plans will not stand in isolation but inter-connected with other goals.Expounding on the issue, a former Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development in Lagos State, Toyin Ayinde said like most designs, master plans must start from the general to the specific and give the whole view of development.

“If developments on a master plan tilt to a particular side, you will see a shaking and the design would fall. This is what happens when you develop Lagos Island more than Alagbado.

You think of a masterplan as a plan, but it is not a physical thing but also deals with economic issues, social and sociological issues in the city system. We must bring our plans to the level of neighborhood that people could easily identify their house from the land use plan,” he said.

Ayinde who doubles as NITP first Vice President, added, “master plan can be changed because a city is a living organism subject to an origin, growth, a decline and death and that is why we must take the right decision. There is nothing that can’t be changed. That is why some uses would change over time.

A good master plan must take into consideration law and order because if you don’t have law and order, you can’t really implement your master. Probably this is why you have some break down of law and order in some places. The masterplan itself is a law passed and gazette.”

Earlier, the Chairman, RICS Nigeria Group, Mr. Gbenga Ismail explained that the CPD focused on reviewing the planning challenges and effectiveness of the master plan in Lagos State.“The theme “Building Stronger Cities” therefore represents learning points that draw on failures, challenges and solutions. Lagos is currently challenged, and if we can solve the issues prevalent then this can be taken to other states. It is important that our cities begin to work for us,” he said

Victor Gbonegun

Lagos Identifies Distressed Buildings, Set to Act on Panel Report

Two weeks after it was constituted, the five- man panel set up by the Lagos State Government to investigate the cause of the collapse of building at 63 Massey Street, Ita Faji, Lagos Island has submitted its report with far reaching findings and revelations.

The panel chaired by a former Permanent Secretary in the state, Mr. Wasiu Olokunola, and made up of professionals in the private sector and built environment, was inaugurated by the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Rotimi Ogunleye on March 19.

Submitting its findings and recommendations last week, the Chairman, Wasiu Olokunola, an engineer, said forensic tests were conducted during the probe, and it was discovered that the ill-fated building was not two or three-storeyed, but a five-storey building.

Although, he was silent on other findings and recommendations in the panel’s report, during the closed door presentation, The Guardian learnt that some of the recommendations were not too different from the recommendations of the previous tribunal set up to investigate similar building collapse by the last administration.

Sources told The Guardian that perhaps the only difference is that the report was updated with fresh facts using new technology.“The recommendations were basically the same and expressed hope that the government will muster the political will to implement.”

In the previous tribunal chaired by a former chairman of Lagos branch of Nigeria Institute of Architects, Mrs. Abimbola Ajayi, the tribunal said, the building collapse was a result of structural failure, even though not all structural failures result in collapse.

According to the tribunal, the provisions of the laws regulating the building industry were adequate, however, weak implementation by the relevant government agencies, flagrant abuse and deliberate flouting by the public, crass indiscipline and gross corruption by all and sundry rendered the laws ineffective. Till date, the recommendation is till marked secret and no iota of the recommendations has been implemented, the Guardian learnt.

But sensing the pessimism being expressed by citizens, Ogunleye, who received the report on behalf of the government assured that the report would be studied with a view to implementing its recommendations.He also said the Lagos State Building Control Agency had discovered more distressed buildings across the state, promising that some of them would be pulled down.He stressed that after conducting a non-destructive structural integrity test on the buildings, the ones which could be fixed through structural re-engineering works would be spared.

Ogunleye urged members of the public not to hesitate to notify the state of any suspected weak building in their neighbourhood.

The commissioner, while giving details of the discovered distressed buildings, said that 136 buildings were identified as distressed in Lagos Island division alone, while 60 weak structures were detected in Ikeja division. Ogunleye added that during the enumeration carried out by Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) 33 distressed buildings were uncovered in Badagry division while 29 of such were discovered in Ikorodu division and 25 weak buildings in Epe division.

The commissioner, however, urged owners of such buildings to urgently come for the demolition approval before their structures will cave in.

Bertram Nwannekanma

UK Property Market Slows as Homes are Earning Less for Owners

Number of homes ‘earning’ more than their owners has fallen in the UK as price growth continues to slow, according to new research.

Just 8% of local areas have seen average house prices increase by more than total average pay over the last two years with the biggest earner being Richmond-upon-Thames where owners got £55,483 more from their home than at work over two years at £2,312 per month.

But the report from lender the Halifax also shows that the gulf between earnings and property price inflation has shrunk considerably across the UK in recent years and this is improving mortgage affordability.

Historically, home owners in many locations found themselves ‘earning’ more from the annual increase in the value of their property than from their take home pay. That trend is now shifting as a result of weaker house price inflation and stronger wage growth.

The average rise in house prices over the last two years has outstripped post-tax earnings in fewer 8% of local authority districts. This compares to 18% in 2017 and 31% in 2016.

‘While the slowdown in house price growth may not be welcomed by homeowners, the narrowing gap between prices and wages should improve mortgage affordability for all, meaning that larger house, home extension or even first property are all more attainable,’ said Russell Galley, managing director of the Halifax.

‘Although every region of the UK saw earnings exceed price growth overall, there continue to be significant variations across the country. The majority of areas where house price inflation outpaced owners’ take-home pay are still to be found in London and the South East,’ he added.

Despite 28 individual local authorities recording average house price increases in excess of total average pay over the last two years, at a regional level, the picture was more consistent.
All 12 regions of the UK saw average earnings exceed house price inflation, from £19,649 in London up to £35,250 in Scotland.

When looking over the last five years, London was the only region to see average house prices increase by more than total average pay at £23,817. Over the same period, the district with the biggest margin was Three Rivers in East of England at £88,281.

Source: Property Wire

Britain: Property Divide Between North/South Expands

The traditional North/South property divide in Britain has moved from just 10 counties in the South of England to encompass parts of Wales and the Midlands, new research has found.

A decade ago, there was a clear cut, central Southern pocket that covered the counties Dorset, Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, West Sussex, Surrey, London, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Rutland.

But the research from automated property management specialists Howsy, which looked at the average house price across each county and chartered the physical property divide line based on the house price threshold of £200,000, shows that has s widened considerably to envelope the entire south of England, much of the Midlands and parts of Wales.

While there is still a very clear cut border between the North and South property markets, with 29 counties in England and the three regions in Wales that sit below, there are also now three regions in Scotland; Edinburgh, East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire, where prices are above £200,000, as well as North Yorkshire.

‘Not only does it show the evolution of the UK housing market but highlights the pressure being put on the UK rental market as a result, with more and more being priced out of home ownership by unaffordability and remaining reliant on the letting sector,’ said Calum Brannan, chief executive officer of Howsy.

‘There’s a very real chance we will continue to see this pocket stretch even further North and we predict that demand on the UK rental sector will only grow,’ he added.

Source: Property Wire

How Lagos-Ibadan Railway Project is Creating New Property Market

Lagos-Ibadan railway which is being constructed by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), is jointly funded by the federal government of Nigeria and the Chinese governments at a cost of about $1.5bn (N458bn).

Growing consensus worldwide favours opinion that high-quality, high-capacity, safe and affordable public transport is the only way for increasingly congested cities to accommodate sustainable economic growth. City transportation projects, in particular, tend to signal where the next property hot spot will be and are considered fundamental to most real estate developments, whether commercial, residential or industrial.

Spanning 156.65 kilometres, the project is a double line, which is the first phase of a new Lagos-Kano standard gauge, designed to ease off the stress of travelling to and from Lagos, Abeokuta and Ibadan as well as Kano. The rail line is expected to transport people and cargo at a speed of 150 kilometres per hour from Lagos to Ibadan via Abeokuta, in less than an hour.

The new line rail project, when completed, would coexist with the old narrow gauge rail line according to the Managing Director of Nigerian Railways Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okheria who spoke recently with newsmen. Besides the Apapa harbour station, there are nine stations along the main lines of Lagos, Agege, Agbado, Kajola, Papalanto, Abeokuta, Olodo, Omi Adio, and Ibadan stations.

The project quantities include, 24.26million square meters earth work, four extra-large bridges, eleven large bridges, four medium bridges, two steel structure bridges, ten frame bridges, 207 culverts, 40 railway-crossing bridges, 31 pedestrian overpasses, 314.72km main-line, 60.26 km station rail, 70832m-beams, 168 groups of single drive turnout, four groups of scissor crossover and 1,200,000 cubic meters of ballast.

When the project began in March 2017, not many property investors and prospective land buyers could ever imagine the impact of the railway on values of land in the area asides the benefits of ease of transportation and diversification of the economy that it promised to offer.

Investigations by The Guardian for instance, show that before the project was flagged off, a plot of land in adjoining communities like Ilaro, Onikoko, Asa olowo Itori, ososun, kajola and others in Papalanto, Ewekoro local government area of Ogun State, was sold for about N80, 000 and N350,000. However, with advancement in construction works, many of the landowners in the area are taking advantage of the development.

Thus, land prices have increased rapidly as property sellers anticipate the demand for the resource to continuously rise. Latest findings revealed that a plot of land now sell for over N500, 000.Speaking with The Guardian, a property expert, Mr. Oluwana Supo stated that of July 2018, a plot of land, which was sold for about 350,000, has increased to over one million naira as at the time of filing this report especially in locations considered as conspicuous and closer to the train stations. According to him, the development is not unconnected to Lagos/Ibadan trail infrastructural development that is nearing completion in that location. He disclosed that following the development; the city centres of Lagos might be decongested as people may relocate.

“Along the geographical locations where the railway pass, a half plot of land which was sold for N250, 000 around February last year now goes for 500,000 and above. Even the Railway officials have almost paid for all the lands in the locations. According to what we learnt, they want to use the land to build an estate for their staff, with that, it means that many people will relocate to the area and that would boost the economy of the area”.

An estate surveyor who is based in Itori/papalanto, Mr. Onanuga Michael, said since the inception of the project, land values have increased in the axis, and new estates have also sprung up because of the huge opening up of land mass in preparation for the construction work. This has created a huge awareness and influx of people to the area.
“In Adunbu-Itori-Papalanto area, a land before the inception of project was sold for N100, 000 now sells more than triple of that price now.

So there has been a great impact in terms of social and economic parameters. Considering the services that will be run along the railway terminals like, dry inland ports, container dump depot, ease of getting into the heart of Lagos, people will naturally move to this areas because railway has been know to attract development in their locations especially were stations are tailored toward commercial activities, moving of goods and services and hoteling business will spring up”, he said.

Victor Gbonegun

Figures show that repossessed homes selling for less is a myth

It is often thought that repossessed homes in the UK sell for less than their market price but new research reveals that sales achieved are at their highest since June 2018.

The amount of money being achieved for a repossessed home by Spicerhaart Corporate Sales is at its highest level in nine months.

Spicerhaart Corporate Sales achieved an average of 104.29% against the market value on properties that were taken into possession and sold in March 2019, up from an average of 96.73% in the preceding three months.

On a property worth £150,000 that is an extra £11,340, and the firm points out that the market has improved recently and this is reflected in the fact that the properties which completed in March achieved on average 24 viewings and five offers.

Ensuring all properties were available until exchange of contracts helped Spicerhaart Corporate Sales achieve higher offers on a number of properties which also impacted the timeline.

sales

While repossession is always the action of last resort, the process of inviting higher offers up to the point when contracts are exchanged ensures that the eventual sale has a positive impact on the borrower in terms of a higher sale price.

It also focuses on shortening the time it takes to achieve a sale, bringing significant benefits to the borrower by returning any surplus money to them more rapidly, helping them to achieve closure and giving them the opportunity to move on in their lives.

‘While having to take someone’s home into possession is never ideal, achieving a sale quickly and raising the maximum amount for it potentially means more money for the borrower, more quickly,’ said Dave Miller, client account manager of Spicerhaart Corporate Sales.

sales

‘It is a myth that repossessed homes are sold off cheaply. We have a duty of care to get the best possible price for a repossessed property and in March this year, we have achieved the highest average price since June 2018’s peak of 107.20%. Achieving a sale of more than the property’s market value is a real benefit to the borrower,’ he explained.

‘The market was quite slow towards the end of 2018, but things are now starting to pick up, so, by taking advantage of the current levels of demand for properties throughout the country we are able to get the best price for both the borrower and the lender,’ he added

Source: Property Wire

South Africa: Strand Property Owners Protest Against Land Occupation

About 100 property owners in Strand, Cape Town, picketed at the municipal buildings on Thursday afternoon. They demanded an explanation from the City of Cape Town about an apparent agreement reached between SANRAL and the City on providing services to people occupying SANRAL-owned land near their properties.

The protesters says that their property prices will drop if informal structures are built close to their homes.

“These are houses with bonds. What is going to happen to our property value if structures are built there?” asked organiser Phillip Versfeld. He said they had obtained information on an agreement between the City and SANRAL which describes the City’s intention to provide services to people who build on the land.

“According to our information, talks started back in 2014 without consulting us the ratepayers. We marched here on Monday to demand answers. We sent an email so we are here back again,” Versfeld said.

Marius Yzelle said he hoped the matter would be sorted out. “We are hoping that no building will start on the SANRAL-owned land. The property value must be protected and we want this matter to be sorted. These are people’s homes, investments. The City must stand up for residents.”

Deputy mayor Ian Nielson, as well as Mayco Members Malusi Booi and and JP Smith were present to accept the memorandum. Addressing the crowd, Nielson denied the City was planning to provide services for people occupy the land. “You can look at our budget. We have not made any provision for any services. It looks like SANRAL went to the public without consulting us first.”

The sceptical residents disrupted Nielson and Smith as they tried to speak.

The property owners protest comes in the midst of about ten days of protests by shack dwellers trying to occupy land in Strand. A small group of people who wanted to build on the SANRAL land were stopped from marching on the property-owners protest by police. One of them, Mkhululi Silatsha, said: “We are the ones who want to build on that land. The deputy-mayor is quick to come here and accept memorandums but our area has been burning for over a week. White privilege is at play here and we will not allow that.”

The land in dispute was earmarked to be part of a national road. This plan was disrupted in the 2000s when homes were built upon it.

Speaking to GroundUp after accepting the memorandum, Nielson said SANRAL did not follow due process. “SANRAL did not consult the City and made incorrect statements. They created a problem for us.” When asked what the way forward was, the Deputy Mayor said: “We are going to make SANRAL follow the process before we can make any decision on the land.”

“The Housing Development Agency (HDA) and the City of Cape Town are engaging with all relevant stakeholders including SANRAL as the landowner. SANRAL’s mandate is to build, develop and manage the road network. Human Settlements falls outside the scope of SANRAL’s mandate and as such, allocation of land, relocation of people and relaying of basic services are addressed by the HDA, City and provincial authorities,” Cable said.

“SANRAL is therefore not allocating land to anyone and has, along with the relevant law enforcement agencies, acted in accordance with a court order, to have land invaders removed from the land intended for road building.”

Cable confirmed that there are talks to provide land. He said the HDA is discussing with the community the possibility of relocating the occupiers to a vacant site within the Pholile informal settlement until they can be housed elsewhere.

Who are the people who want to build on the SANRAL land?

Former Mayor Patricia De Lille approved the electrification of Pholile. This is currently underway. But some shacks do not qualify for getting electricity because they are under powerlines or too near municipal pipes. It was agreed that those houses would be moved to another piece of land. Discussions started with SANRAL to do this as plans for the road appeared to have failed.

Silatsha told GroundUp: “Meetings have been ongoing and SANRAL admitted that their plans for building a road cannot go ahead as they would have to move people to other areas. The meetings were held in the presence of City officials but today they deny everything.”

Meanwhile, also in Strand on Thursday, demolition of structures continued on the ASLA-owned land opposite Reddam House school. The structures have been erected as part of land occupations over the past weeks. Private security has now been deployed to guard the land 24 hours a day.

Velani Ludidi

Kenya receives US $83000 for the construction of Marakwet fruit factory

Kenya has received US $84,000 from the Japanese government as donation towards the  construction of Marakwet fruit factory in Marakwet County in western Kenya.

Second Secretary at the Embassy of Japan in Kenya Fumiaki Hirai, confirmed the reports and said that the factory will enable farmers to add value to their crops, reduce the wastage of farm products especially fruits at times when the harvest is plenty, provide a sustainable market and a fair price which in overall shall increase farmers’ income.

Construction works on the project include; construction of a fruit processing factory and installation of a fruit gas dryer at AIC Cheptebo rural development center who has also pledged to inject US $27,000 into the project. The entire project is expected to cost roughly US $110 000.

Benefits of the factory to fruit farmers

Ms. Ayumi Yamamoto, The managing director at Kenya Fruit Solutions (KFS) said that they will provide a market for 10 tons of apple mangoes annually which translates to 300,000 pieces.

The cooperation has also signed an agreement with the AIC Cheptebo rural development center to increase the cost of a piece of mango from US $0.05 to US $0.12. Mr. Joseph Kimeli the Centre Director said that the factory will provide direct employment opportunities to between 30 and 50 local people.

“In general the factory, when complete, shall improve the economy of 8,000 farmers living and operating across the Kerio Valley and those who have between 70,000 and 100,000 mango trees,” he concluded.

Changes to the Initial plan

The initial plan was to construct a factory that would only deal with mango fruits but according to Mr. Kimeli, they were advised to include other fruits and horticultural products to ensure sustainability of operations when mangoes are out of season.

He however stressed that they have not found market for the other farm products they plan to process in the factory but he is positive they will land on one as they have for mangoes.

Source: By Kennet Mwenda, Construction Review Online.

Translate »