The national average home price in South Africa has risen by almost 8% in a year‚ but high cost-of-living increases coupled with sluggish salary increases are having a dampening effect.
According to the latest statistics released by BetterLife Home Loans‚ a mortgage originator‚ the eight percent price growth was recorded in the year to end-June‚ compared with 5‚9% in the previous 12 months.
However‚ the company said the statistics also show that the rate of home price growth is slowing‚ having achieved an increase of just 2% in the June quarter‚ compared with an increase of almost 5% in the first quarter of this year.
“This shows once again the dampening effect that high cost-of-living increases have on the real estate market‚” said BetterLife Home Loans CEO Shaun Rademeyer.
“This year‚ there has not been much extra income injected into household budgets by way of salary increases‚ a large drop in fuel prices like the one that occurred last year or the personal tax cuts usually announced in the Budget. And what has come in has been rapidly absorbed‚ in most cases‚ by steep food price increases resulting from the ongoing drought in many parts of the country‚ and rising water and electricity costs.”
Sluggish economic growth and rising unemployment have kept the lid on salary increases‚ he noted‚ while the Reserve Bank has estimated that food price inflation will almost double this year from 5‚9% recorded in December 2015 to 11%.
“Meanwhile the average household is already dealing with higher debt repayments thanks to the two interest rate increases announced this year‚ and the annual increases in water and electricity tariffs just announced by most municipalities‚ which average around 10%.
“In short‚ most consumers are struggling to make ends meet‚ and while the demand for property remains high‚ the decline in discretionary incomes is increasingly limiting what potential buyers are able to afford – and what banks are prepared to lend them.”
Rademeyer said that the banks are‚ however‚ still favouring secured lending products such as home loans‚ and that the percentage of home loan applications being declined outright has dropped to 27% in the past year from 28% in the previous 12 months.
People are also placing larger deposits on their home purchases‚ possibly due to the favourable interest rates they receive when doing so. “Our statistics show that 52% of all prospective buyers are putting down more than 10% of the purchase price‚ with the current average being 21% of the purchase price.”
In the first-time-buyer sector of the market‚ continued strong demand is indicated by a 6‚2% increase in the average home price in the year to end-June‚ compared to a 3‚8% increase in the previous 12 months‚ he said.
“In addition‚ first-time-buyers continue to account for 46% of all home loan applications‚ and almost a third of all home loan approvals‚ even though this sector has also seen cash deposit requirements rise from an average of 11% to an average of 12% in the past 12 months. Our expectation‚ though‚ is that it is going to become increasingly tough for prospective buyers at all levels to secure home loans. ”
The BetterLife Home Loans statistics represent 25% of all residential mortgage bonds being registered in the Deeds Office.
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Veteran politician Winnie Madikizela-Mandela‚ who is recuperating from back surgery‚ walked steadily out of her Soweto home on Tuesday afternoon to endorse the African National Congress election campaign.
The ruling party is under siege from opposition parties‚ which are fiercely contesting seats in the coming local government elections. Since the election of Mmusi Maimane as the Democratic Alliance leader and the emergence of the Economic Freedom Fighters‚ the ANC has been forced to campaign harder‚ especially in townships.
The legitimacy of the once popular movement of the people has been eroded ?amid allegations of corruption in government‚ lack of adequate service delivery and imposing of candidates on local communities.
Madikizela-Mandela‚ who has not been participating in election campaigns of the party owing to her poor health‚ is among the few surviving veteran ANC leaders and still commands respect in the rank and file of the party.
“I am delighted that you are here‚ these are difficult times for the ANC. But I want to tell the people of South Africa to do the right thing and vote for the ANC‚ the revolutionary movement‚” she said.
She decried the political killings of candidates‚ which she said was foreign.
“We will do the right thing‚ we will win with all these problems we are facing. The ANC will win with a majority‚” she concluded.
The post ANC will win‚ even with the problems it is facing: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela appeared first on HeraldLIVE.
Donations are pouring in for eight “brave South African journalists who lost their jobs for standing up for media freedom”.
Thandeka Gqubule‚ Foeta Krige‚ Lukhanyo Calata‚ Suna Venter‚ Busisiwe Ntuli‚ Krivani Pillay‚ Vuyo Mvoko and Jacques Steenkamp are jobless after being fired by the SABC.
“Yes‚ we can protest and issue statements and write columns in their support‚ but at month-end they have to pay bills‚ probably with half a month’s salary if they are lucky. Some of them have kids‚” New24 editor Adriaan Basson wrote on Generosity.com as he launched a crowdfunding campaign.
“This is a call to all who value media freedom and deeply care about the state of journalism in South Africa to crowd source some money for them‚ just to see them through the worst few weeks of their professional lives. Donate anything‚ however small‚ to help them and show them our unwavering support.”
The fund was sitting just shy of $ 1000 just two hours after it was set up.
After seven hours‚ the appeal had raised $ 5‚847 (R84‚196) from 124 people.
Trevor‚ who donated $ 50‚ posted: “It’s a damn shame‚ our freedom dream is fading”‚ while Mthimkulum21‚ who gave $ 25‚ shared: “As the saying goes‚ All it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing.”
The journalists had spoken out against a decision by the public broadcaster’s chief operating officer‚ Hlaudi Motsoeneng‚ to ban news coverage of violent protests.
Attorney Willem de Klerk has agreed to distribute the funds raised through his firm’s trust account at the end of July‚ Basson said. The money will be divided equally.
The post Over R84‚000 raised so far by friends of sacked SABC journalists appeared first on HeraldLIVE.
The four-year battle of an Aussie mum to end body shaming is about to take its biggest step forward with the global release of a documentary.
Embrace is the story of South Australian mother Taryn Brumfitt and her fight to empower men and women to feel comfortable with their physical appearance.
An increasing number of people, including children, are exposed to the unrealistic and stereotypical images of the “perfect” body from magazine covers to social media sites every day.
Brumfitt said despite the way media portrayed beauty, she learned that the real problem was not her appearance – it was the psychological battle.
“It’s a financially rewarding place for companies to make people hate their body because it makes us want to run and buy their products,” she said. “What happened for me was learning to unconditionally love my body. I told myself that my body is not an ornament it’s a vehicle and it will change. That I don’t need to conform to the narrow ideals of society, of how we should conform to this one body type to be happy.”
Brumfitt started making waves when she posted a “before” and “after” photo of herself to Facebook that went viral – catching the interest of high profile celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Rosie O’Donnell.
The photo has now been seen by more then 100 million people worldwide.
Brumfitt decided she wanted the issue of body shaming to gain more exposure and set up a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a documentary, which reached about AUD A$ 331000 (R3.5-million).
“I hated my body after I had my three children and I wanted to change.
“I thought that cosmetic surgery was the only option to fix what I thought was broken,” she said.
“But I didn’t want my daughter to think that she had to change her body so I decided to train and enter a body building competition to find out what it was like to have the perfect body. But to have the body that I had took too much time, sacrifice and energy.
“There isn’t a potion or a lotion or a new diet to make yourself feel good so I then started speaking in halls, community centres and schools to help other women realise that.
“This message is needed and I am more than happy to be that person to drive that global change.”
A Dove international study of more than 10000 females across 13 countries found that women’s confidence in their bodies was on a steady decline.
About 69% of women and 56% of girls said pressure from media and advertising agencies resulted in them feeling anxious about their appearance.
Body shaming has also been a big issue with celebrities.
Jennifer Aniston this week wrote a scathing blog post about the negative attention the media had placed on her figure over the course of her career.
Brumfitt said although she had encountered a lot of backlash from “internet trolls” she used the negativity as motivation to help spread the message of love.
“It’s empowering to hear someone else go through something similar and it gives hope to people,” she said.
“The mission behind everything I do with the body image movement from Embrace the film to the online stuff we do, it all leads to one thing – global positive change. It’s time to say no to those who would put us down or want to tell us how to look.”
Embrace was a Sydney Film Festival finalist for best documentary last month had its South Australian premiere in Adelaide on Sunday, July 17.
The late Nelson Mandela was 95 when he died at the end of 2013. The great man’s birthday was yesterday, July 18, and it is a measure of the massive impact that he made that this date is still celebrated around the world.
The Madiba legacy is remembered by figures as diverse as Rev Jesse Jackson in the US and the World Economic Forum, both of which posted tributes yesterday.
However, it is in South Africa that his remarkable life made the most impression and even today, three years after his death, there is still an outpouring of public service seen in countless “67 minutes for Madiba” activities across the country.
The Herald reports on a few of them in pictures today, but at the same time we are mindful that the true meaning of Mandela Day can be clouded by self-serving public relations teams who see the day as an opportunity for free publicity.
Some of the country’s biggest celebrities yesterday spent their 67 minutes of service for Mandela Day not with the aim of quietly doing good, but of drawing attention to their good deeds.
Similarly, politicians and big business each year jump on the charity bandwagon and send out their staff in T-shirts branded with their logo along with “Mandela Day”. It is tempting to brush off Mandela Day as little more than a “hashtag” moment and the more cynical among us may doubt the sincerity of good deeds restricted to 67 minutes once a year.
However, nonetheless, it is an irrefutable fact that South Africa does still desperately and definitely need a spirit of volunteerism.
Whether it is planting a tree, reading to a child or making sandwiches for the hungry, each small act of kindness is better than none. The need is huge and the drive to address that need should not be derailed due to motives being impugned.
Let us not deter citizens of the metro named after Madiba from trying to live up to his standards, but rather encourage more people to do what they can to help.
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead,” said Nelson Mandela.
Rest in peace, Tata, your inspiration lives on.
A Port Elizabeth policeman has been sentenced to four years behind bars for corruption.
Sergeant Mziwandile Mventshana, 43, was sentenced to seven years in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Monday, but three years of the sentence were suspended for five years.
Hawks spokeswoman Captain Anelisa Feni said Mventshana, who was stationed at the Mount Road police station, pulled over a 25-year-old man in Cape Road to conduct a routine check on December 30 2014.
“The Sergeant then instructed the man to do a breathalyser test and then informed him that the result was over the legal limit. Mventshana then requested the man to buy him a soft drink and to give him R100,” Feni said.
“However, after consulting his partner on duty Constable Khayalethu Hlamvana, 37, he demanded R200.
The 25-year-old gave Mventshana the R150 he had in his possession. In addition, he visited Mount Road police station during the same day to report the crime.”
The Hawks’ Organised Crime wing arresting the two policemen on April 15.
It materialised during their investigation that a second complainant had also reported the two for demanding a bribe the same day.
Mventshana and Hlamvana were found guilty for the two counts of corruption on May 6.
Hlamvana has not been sentenced yet and his next court appearance is on September 30.
The choices you make when designing an economics course or curriculum usually determine the outcomes. It seems almost straightforward: you know what you want to produce (economists), so you teach students economics based on the most dominant mainstream canon.
Economists loyal to this canon teach students, then, to be, well, economists – and so the discipline is preserved and orthodoxy is reproduced. For the most part course design draws on “tried and tested” concepts and methods, and students graduate on the basis of how they have performed in tests and examinations.
Rarely, at least in economics and business, are students encouraged to drift from the textbook orthodoxies to which they are bound. Very often, the greatest challenges students face is when they start their first jobs.
There’s a delightful headline atop an article written by Robert Coase, the Nobel laureate for economics, that appeals for economics to be saved from economists. Coase was hardly a radical.
Nonetheless, one of the arguments Coase made in the article, published in the Harvard Business Review in 2012, was that business and economics teaching has increasingly little to do with the real workings of the economy or of business. The following passage from the article stands out:
“Economics as currently presented in textbooks and taught in the classroom does not have much to do with business management and still less with entrepreneurship. The degree to which economics is isolated from the ordinary business of life is extraordinary and unfortunate.”
Coase was critical of what he described as “the separation of economics from the working economy”, which, he said, had “severely damaged both the business community and the academic discipline”. This has resulted in many economics graduates arriving at their first jobs, certificates in hand, with very few skills or insights in managing interpersonal relations, desperately lacking in written and verbal communication skills, insufficiently honed knowledge of politics, governance and organisational cultures, and with very limited entrepreneurial or innovative drive.
Coase explained that because economics “offers little in the way of practical insight” managers and entrepreneurs had to delve into “their own business acumen, personal judgment, and rules of thumb” when having to make decisions. It is fair to say that a young graduate rarely has these skills and abilities.
If Coase is to be believed, and there is little reason not to, it is fair to say that once they have graduated, students have greater insights into textbook theories and “models” – which are invariably simplifications of rather complex social and real world conditions – than they do of the actual workings of society. This disconnect has to do with the fixity of economics teaching, which is driven, at the outset, by “formal” methods that are increasingly unreal, in the sense that these models are usually created so we can make sense of a highly complex, complicated and unpredictable world.
They are simplifications and are almost always wrong. This process of model-building is often out of step with real-world events or states of affairs.
They rely on “mathiness”, described as a blend of words, phrases and symbols that are sufficiently indistinct, malleable and presented as “scientific”. This aspiration to be “scientific” tends to discard, or render unusable, “non-economic” data, and the (continued) drive to expand Eurocentric theories, concepts and methods to all corners of the world.
Out of these stem beliefs that economics provides us with the way to evaluate all human life, that it represents the “universal grammar” of what is taught across academic disciplines, and that its theories and methods have always been and will always be true across time and place. This suggests that what is good and true for a Wall Street banker, is good and true for someone who tends fields and lives from hand to mouth in rural Eastern Cape.
It suggests that the “logic” (and realties) that keep the Wall Street banker alive and able to feed her family are no different from those that keep the woman in the Eastern Cape on the margins of the formal economy.
We come then to our graduates and how we prepare them for that first job. There is a lifetime beyond the first job that a comprehensive education can and should address.
A good place to start would be to broaden the horizon of economics (it may be necessary to learn about some of the non-economic basis of the decisions we make), and deepen knowledge of the social world to provide students with greater clarity on the range of skills and knowledge that transcend narrow boundaries of learning.
It is worth remembering that economics textbooks are not only written for students. Textbooks play significant roles in defining the field.
In the 1890s Alfred Marshall wrote his Principles of Economics and for the next three decades, the book became the touchstone of economics education and much of policy-making. Marshall’s Principles went through several editions, until 1920.
In most parts of the world, at least those parts that were influenced by European colonialism, Marshall’s textbook continued to define the field.
It was replaced in 1948 by Paul Samuelson’s Economics, which set the standard for the next 60 years.
The world has changed significantly over the past 60 years.
It would be disingenuous of us to believe that the basis of all our teaching and learning, research and policy-making can, and should, continue to be drawn from single texts.
It should be possible for us to put mainstream economic texts under critical examination to understand why they remain as pervasive and dominant, and question them as concepts of the last resort.
In a blow to service delivery and corruption-free governance, the ANC has managed to ram through a proposal drastically to increase the number of politically-appointed staff in the offices of the mayor, deputy mayor, chief whip and speaker. These bloated offices now have room for 113 people, all of whom are appointed by ANC leaders, not by the council, and are paid millions of rand from the public purse.
The people of Nelson Mandela Bay continue to be faced with a catastrophic housing crisis, debilitating levels of crime and drug abuse, poor or non-existent sanitation services, a non-functional and wasteful IPTS, and a stillborn metro police service that is yet to make a single arrest. Yet, the ANC is only concerned with employing even more cadres further to enrich and entrench its patronage network, at the expense of our metro’s residents.
While the ANC focuses on its multi-million rand cadre deployment project, the DA is ready to improve service delivery in the Bay. By prioritising the upgrade of informal settlements and the provision of serviced sites so that all residents can access basic services, a DA-led government in Nelson Mandela Bay will start to achieve desperately needed redress.
We will ensure that red tape is cut to speed up the rezoning and transfer of title deeds to housing beneficiaries, giving people legal ownership of their homes.
This would not only give recipients an asset to leverage, but also a home to call their own.
We will ensure potholes are fixed, municipal roads and infrastructure are maintained, and residents have access to electricity, potable water and sanitation. We will roll out weekly area cleaning projects to rid our metro of the scourge of litter and illegal dumping.
This is how our money should be spent, on our people, not wasted on the ANC’s selfish cadre deployment objectives.
I have been to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown for more than a decade, and it is sad as an artist from the Eastern Cape to see how absent and distant was the festival from the people of Grahamstown. The Kwam Emakana home stays initiative was a good one, but not well organised as it gradually depreciates in value year by year.
The National Arts Festival is the country’s biggest creative and cultural pilgrimage which is hosted annually in the small city of Grahamstown. About 120km away from Grahamstown is the city of Port Elizabeth, neighboured by Uitenhage and Despatch, forming the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
It is through this city that pilgrims of creative and cultural industries travel en route to Grahamstown. It is in this metro that you will find the birthplaces of great artists like Nomhle Nkonyeni, Winston Ntshona, John Kani, Feya Faku, the Bala brothers, Zonke Dikana, Dudley Tito, Phinda Mtya and many other signature artists who hail from the townships of New Brighton, Kwazakhele, Zwide, Gelvandale, KwaLanga, Motherwell, KwaNobuhle and Khayamnandi and all other townships.
It is of great concern that the inaugural Mandela Bay Cultural Festival from July 26 to 30 will be not be experienced by the people from these communities. In Grahamstown people are forced to pay bus fares daily to see creative and cultural showcases that come to their home city while visitors are very privileged to enjoy every bit of the National Arts Festival that partly benefits the ordinary poor communities of Grahamstown.
On behalf of the people of the townships of Nelson Mandela Bay, I appeal to the local festival planners and committees responsible for coordinating this festival to be very mindful of our townships so as to develop our audiences to be possible buyers and consumers of our arts productions. It’s time we transform this attitude of throwing every big event to the CBD while the indigenous citizens of this city are left in the dusty streets of our townships, where these talents hail from.
It happened in 2010 with the Fifa World Cup where vibrant fan parks and other vital venues were situated in the CBD. These CDB communities have been benefiting from such events and other opportunities.
This is a democratic country. We must redress inequalities and meet our people halfway by saving their bus fares.
Our people pay bus fares to and from work, and again pay bus fare to events that entertain them after their hard work earning peanuts.
People of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, here is our first big cultural showcase. Let’s grab it with both hand and support it as it will boost our township economy as well as restore the moral fibre of our troubled communities.
Have you tried: Sailing in Africa ?