New laws could see foreigners lose land | Fin24
 
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New laws could see foreigners lose land

Feb 08 2015 18:30
Moyagabo Maake

At least two of the country’s top 10 luxury game lodges – as ranked by SA Tourism – have some form of foreign ownership, such as &Beyond's Phinda Game Reserve. (Photo: &Beyond)

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Johannesburg - Multinational companies operating in South Africa are keeping mum on the governing party’s plan to ban foreign ownership of land, which was unveiled after its national executive committee met last month, according to City Press.

The decision has placed the ownership of expensive title deeds in doubt – among them those held by British telecoms group Vodafone, which owns 65% and 60.9% in Vodacom Group and Vodacom, respectively.

These companies together own five title deeds, according to deeds office records, purchased for a collective R38.4m.

The sprawling Vodaworld complex in Midrand alone accounted for about R32.4m of this total, and has almost certainly appreciated in value since it was purchased 14 years ago.

But Vodacom spokesperson Richard Boorman did not want to speculate on the implications of the ANC’s decision on its foreign parent.

What constitutes local?

The registration of the companies locally has foreign businesspeople scratching their heads about what constitutes a local or foreign company.

State owns 18% of land

This booklet indicates that, in 2010, 18% of land was owned by the state and 79% was in private hands. The rest was unaccounted for. The audit could not identify foreign ownership because the department’s system did not provide for that analysis.

But at least two of the country’s top 10 luxury game lodges – as ranked by SA Tourism – have some form of foreign ownership.

There is the 23 000ha Phinda Private Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal owned by &Beyond, a company under the control of major shareholders Capricorn and the Getty family trusts.

anc  |  foreign investment  |  property
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