A new High Court decision highlights once again the need to have your building plans approved before you build.
The saga starts………
This story begins way back in 2004, with the owner of a rural Guest House starting work on a new double-storey conference centre and four self-catering apartments – without getting plans approved, and without applying for rezoning from “Agricultural” to “Resort” (rezoning being required before plans could be considered for approval).
There followed a long saga of notices to cease work being ignored, delays around an environmental impact assessment, and rejection of an application for rezoning both by the DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) and on appeal to the Minister.
Ultimately the local municipality, whose building inspector had initially discovered the unlawful building activity at foundation stage, applied to Court for an order interdicting the Guest House from occupying or using the new buildings (plus four more apartments built unlawfully in 2007).
………and ends badly for the owner
The Court granted the interdict (and refused to suspend it) leaving the Guest House owner, after incurring no doubt very substantial cost in erecting the buildings over a nine year period
- - Unable to use in any way its new buildings unless and until its new rezoning application is granted and the building plans passed, and
- - Worse, facing no doubt an application by the municipality for a full demolition order if and when the rezoning application and/or the building plans are rejected.
Issues resolved and new features:
Novtel Property TPN Changes:
- Fixed TPN Address Updater crash caused when a details record was missing for a given property.
- Properties with a missing details record are now displayed in red in the TPN Address Updater
- Fixed the TPN ID Updater and other areas to only accept an id number that is 13 digits long and numeric
- Added a safeguard in the TPN Address Updater to prevent updating if all the fields are left blank. When a field is left blank, it keeps its previous value
- Added a Clear Fields button to more easily clear all of the fields on the TPN Address Updater form
Novtel Property Lite Changes:
- Removed the menu item ‘Select Database’ for the lite version
- Removed the ability to change pastel paths through the Setup Pastel form
Issues resolved and new features:
Novtel Property Changes:
- Added a feature to allow bulk updating of property addresses (In support to TPN requirements)
- Added a feature to more quickly update ID Numbers of property occupants (In support to TPN requirements)
- Added an option to automatically use the tenant as the occupant for a property
- Fixed an error caused when a cash deposit fee was set back from a valid value to nothing
- TPN Export Application now included in Novtel Property installation; No external installation required
Novtel Property Lite Changes:
- Lite version only loads and displays 25 properties
- Lite version forced to only use 2 provided databases: A test database and clean database
- Added an option to switch between the provided databases
Issues resolved and new features:
Please note that the implementation of this version require all existing Customers to be upgraded to the Professional version of Novtel Hospitality.
- Add a new tab – POS
- Add a Layout 1 (Default) on the tab:
This is used for normal printing of Restaurant/Bar Bill and Receipt/Invoice combination.
Add a Layout 2 (Totals Percentage Breakdown) on the tab:
This layout is in order to comply with a specific country’s legislation but might also have uses elsewhere. On this layout the Service Charge/Catering Levy is removed from the transaction lines and only displays as a total. Next to the totals the percentage breakdowns are displayed.
Layout 2 limitations:
- Multiple tax types reported as MULT.
- Items taxable at 0% not included in the percentage breakdown for “Tax/VAT”.
- Items not subject to the service charge not included in the percentage breakdown for “Service Charge”.
Lite Version limitations:
- POS Pay out
- POS Credit Note
- POS Shop/Sales
Rooms limited to 9 (Change to exclude system created Group containers from count Limit POS transactions to 2000
Once the sum of Receipt -, POS Pay out -, POS Credit Note -, POS Shop/Sale – and Restaurant/Bar Transactions reaches 2000 it will be necessary to upgrade to the Professional version. Receipts transactions are excluded from the limit of 2000
ooba’s CEO, Saul Geffen, has announced he will step down as CEO at the company’s AGM at the end of June, rounding off his 15 years at the helm of ooba. He will be succeeded by Rhys Dyer, currently chief operating officer of the business. At the board’s request, Geffen will remain as a non-executive director in a strategic role assisting in identifying opportunities for the group.
The announcement of Geffen’s departure coincides with ooba achieving the company’s best monthly performance in five years in the value of home loans approved. The value of approved home loans in the month of May was 21.3% higher than May in the previous year, while the past six-month period is 26.7% higher than the equivalent period in the prior year. May 2013 was also 362% higher than January 2009, ooba’s lowest month during the midst of the sub-prime, property and financial crises.
A much-needed breather
Geffen says that in addition to taking a much-needed breather, he will indulge his passions that he has not been able to prioritise over the years. Says Geffen, “One day I was 24, the next 39. I remember always being the youngest person in the room. Now I’m on anti-oxidants and making lists of ‘things to do before I’m 40′. It’s time to indulge a little in life and family, and invest time in some of my passions that I didn’t prioritise over the years. I will also now be able to focus on developing the business opportunities I have been thinking about.”
Geffen continues, “With the business in excellent form and the platform for future growth solidly in place, it is finally time for me to hand over the reins. I am very fortunate to be able to entrust ooba’s legacy to Rhys Dyer, and to know that ooba is in the most capable hands. He has the total backing of the management team and the board, and I have no doubt that under his leadership, ooba will continue to thrive and grow.”
Rhys Dyer feels privileged
Dyer says that he is both privileged and excited to be offered the opportunity to take over from Geffen. “Saul leaves behind him an incredible legacy of innovation and growth,” says Dyer. “It is fantastic to see ooba’s results continuing to exceed expectations and achieve new five-year highs. ooba’s industry-leading metrics are testimony to the abundance of talent that resides in the business. With this talent, the partnerships we have forged with real estate and the banks, and the trust we have built up with the homebuyer, ooba’s future certainly looks very bright, set for continuing growth and delivery of value to all of our stakeholders.”
Geffen says that he is proud to leave ooba thriving and growing, and to have been a part of the organisation’s incredible journey. Says Geffen: “It has been a privilege to lead this organisation and I look forward to contributing to ooba’s success in my new non-executive role.
“I cannot express adequately my gratitude to the ooba shareholders and board for their support, nor can I adequately thank ooba’s business partners. The debt I owe to the magnificent, loyal, hardworking management team and staff is vast and I can only begin to thank them all for the staggering level of professional conduct and dedication they have delivered, making possible so many memorable triumphs,” concludes Geffen
With South Africa proving an increasingly attractive international tourism destination, reflecting a 10.4 percent increase in foreign visitors for January to October 2012 over the same period in 2011, the outlook for the prime tourism locations in the Western Cape is positive.
Recent STR reports reveal that for the 12 months ended 31 December 2012, RevPAR (revenue per available room, in rands) in South Africa grew by 10.5 percent compared to the same period in 2011. The same report showed that RevPAR over this same time frame increased by 9.4 percent in the Western Cape and 14.5 percent on the Garden Route.
Market activity in the guesthouse and boutique hotel market indicates growing interest in this region. Capitalising on a positive year in 2012, with an increase in international and local visitors coupled with increased sales by PGLAG, two sizeable 4-Star guesthouses – Albourne Guesthouse in the Cape Winelands town of Somerset West and Whale Rock Lodge in Hermanus, ‘whale viewing capital of the world’were sold. The combined value of these two sales is close to R17 million. Interestingly, each property has been trading for almost 20 years, being one of the first guesthouses in their respective towns.”
“Running very successfully for close to two decades, the guesthouses needed refurbishment and a fresh look. This is where the discerning buyers identified an opportunity to add value to the properties by investing a limited amount of additional capital. Conservative calculations allowing for increased room occupancies and room rates show a very attractive yield on the investment over the medium to long term,” says Bruil.
Bruil says in both transactions the staff complement has been retained and it is anticipated that additional staff will be recruited in the near future. Both buyers decided to invest additional capital as part of their expansion strategy, which is a major vote of confidence in South Africa’s hospitality industry as a desirable investment destination.
Foreign interest in guest houses and boutique hotels in South Africa is increasing when compared to a year ago. In addition to the healthy growth in revenue during 2012, confidence has been boosted by the rand exchange rate, which makes South Africa some 20 percent more affordable as a tourist destination than a year ago.
Scenic Somerset West is extremely popular among ‘swallows’, mainly European retirees and holidaymakers who stay for approximately three to four months of the year, making the town their base from which to explore the Cape. The town attracts very high occupancies from September/October through to April. With its fisherman’s village charm, the thriving holiday resort of Hermanus has a six week longer season as the whales frequent the bay from as early as July/August.
Content supplied by Peter Bruil, MD of Pam Golding Lodges and Guesthouses (PGLAG), a subsidiary of Pam Golding Hospitality.
Issues resolved and new features:
Fixed Error when generating Customer Statement for certain months
Despite the recent economic uncertainty, South Africa’s hospitality industry for 2012 to 2016 is expected to improve with the demand for rooms anticipated to grow faster than supply and the overall occupancy rate to show a strong increase in growth, according to a report issued by Professional Services Firm PwC.
“Continued economic growth, rising tourism and slower growth in the number of available rooms will lead to a recovery in hotel occupancy rates,” says PwC Leader of Hospitality and Gaming Nikki Forster.
PwC’s 2nd edition of the South African hospitality outlook: 2012 – 2016 projects that by the year 2016, occupancy across all accommodation sectors will average 53.9%.
The study focuses on the following major industry segments: hotels, guest houses and farms, caravans and camping sites, bush lodges and other accommodation. It analyses the key trends observed and challenges facing these industry sectors as well as considering their future prospects.
Historical data were derived from PwC’s analysis of Smith Travel Research and Statistics South Africa combined with other information on industry trends. Forecasting models were then developed based on the historical performance for each category, including economic performance for South Africa and the rest of the world, and estimates of domestic and international overnight travel in South Africa. Unusual events, such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup as well as competition, pricing trends, and the expected reaction of proprietors to changing occupancy rates were taken into account.
In 2008, South Africa was affected by the financial crisis. As a result growth was slowed sharply during the latter part of the year, with occupancy rates plunging, falling from 71.8% in 2007 to 53% in 2011, an 18.8-percentage-point decline. The report forecasts that the average hotel occupancy rate will improve in 2012 and increase by 9.1 percentage points to 62.1% in 2016.
Forster says: “Growth in travel and tourism will fuel growth in the accommodation industry in the next five years. The total number of travellers in South Africa is expected to rise to 16.85 million by 2016, a 4.1% compound annual increase from 2011.
“After 2012, the improving economic climate will lead to steady gains in both foreign and domestic visitors in South Africa.”
The number of travellers to South Africa increased 14.8% in 2010 in the wake of the FIFA World Cup. “We had expected that in the absence of the tournament in 2011, the number of travellers would decline. However, this was not the case. The number of travellers continued to increase, rising by 4.3% to 13.77 million,” says Forster.
Although the number of visitors from Europe is down, the increase in tourists from other African countries and the Asia-Pacific region are a boost to the industry and returns in revenue.
Not much new construction activity is being planned in the industry. However, some hotels are being upgraded. Forster says that the most significant effect of the 2010 FIFA World Cup was on average room rates, which rose 11.7% in 2010 and then fell 9.4% in 2011. The decline in the average room rates led to a 7% decrease in overall hotel room revenue to R9.6 billion in 2011. The report forecasts occupancy rates to turn around for hotels, increase for guest houses and rebound for caravan and camping sites, bush lodges and other accommodation.
“The major players in the industry are continuing with their capital refurbishment programmes to keep their products current and to maintain their competitive edge,” says Forster.
Content supplied by Gauteng Business News
Issues resolved and new features:
Fix an error occurring when pressing “Enter” instead of clicking on “Accept” to complete a transaction.
Integrate the Charge Price Matrices discount to display on the Bill and Invoice.
Add a new report at Sales History – POS Sales per Item History by selecting “POS Sales Discount”.The report displays exclusive on file, discount given and discounted price. Selection available for a Charge code or a range of Charge codes for a certain period of time.
Update to support Pastel 12.1.4
Living in South Africa, you’ll probably already be privy to the e-toll saga that’s spread around the Gauteng province and national news. The implementation of e-tolling using e-toll tags, and the e-toll gantries along the highways, is being put in place to help construct (and pay for) safer roads for those travelling in and around Gauteng. As much as it sounds like a great idea, it’s being introduced at a rather hefty price.
The Evolution of e-toll
If you’ve driven the N1, N3, N12 or R21 lately, you may have noticed an impressive upgrade of the roads from Tshwane to Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni. The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project is responsible for the national freeways’ facelift that has been in the making for the last few years. While road users appreciate the smoother, safer and more effectively designed e-toll freeways, their pockets will feel the impact more than anything else.
Every time a car travels under one of the e-tolling gantries, a charge will be billed to the owner, resulting in significant additional monthly costs for those who make regular use of these roads for business, pleasure or day to day travel. The e-toll system has instituted uproar among road users and it’s easy to realise why. No one was consulted before it was put in place, there were no opinion polls or community briefings; it was just implemented without consent. As it comes in addition to taxes, the bite also seems a lot worse than the benefit.
The commencement date has been pushed out, but e-toll tags are already being sold at a discounted early-bird price, in the hopes of converting consumers with “value for money”. The Gautrain is being highlighted as the alternative method of transport to help cut costs, but it isn’t accessible to everyone or affordable for all; it also doesn’t help those who’ll be travelling the roads for pleasure. Many out-of-town customers use car hire services as a quick, easy and affordable way to get to a business meeting before shooting back to the airport and flying home. However, e-tolling now presents a new variable in the expense department.
First Car Rental’s Opinion on e-tolling,
While we’re upstanding citizens, we’re not at all enthused by the idea of the e-toll system. We feel that as a community, we can still stand together against additional costs for performing a basic need. The fees for e-tolling will only make it more difficult to get to work to earn our daily bread, as well as make it more expensive for our loyal patrons to make use of the convenience we offer as a car hire group.
content supplied by: First Car Rental