The South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) has expressed its support for the Department of Public Works’ decision to seize misappropriated state properties.
SAPOA CEO Neil Gopal says the department’s decision to take a tougher stance on misappropriated land is a positive move that will work to the benefit of all stakeholders and the country’s commercial property sector in general.
“It sends a strong message that South Africa takes property ownership rights seriously,” says Gopal.
The move comes on the back of the second phase of the state’s immovable asset audit, in which government aim to identify the occupiers of missing state land. Deputy Minister of Public Works, Jeremy Cronin, has said that some of the missing land includes state assets that were illegally transferred to individuals and state officials for private gain.
In 2012, the Department of Public Works initiated Operation Bring Back, which gave individuals that are illegally occupying state land the opportunity to come forward. After this operation did not yield significant results the state is now accelerating the process of sorting out its immovable asset register.
Gopal congratulated the department on the latest developments, in which several arrests have already been made and further investigations are underway throughout the country.
SAPOA is the voice of the commercial and industrial property industry in South Africa and its members own and control approximately 90% of all commercial, retail, office and industrial property in South Africa.