Msunduzi beats neighbour

2012-01-20 00:00

WHILE KwaZulu-Natal residents are still coming to terms with the fact that eThekwini is rated one of the most expensive districts in the country to develop property in, Msunduzi residents can be happy with the fact that it pips its costal neighbour to the post in almost every aspect.

The South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal, in association with development economists Urban Econ, compiled a comprehensive report detailing the cost of property development across a number of municipalities.

The figures were generated by calculating the cost of establishing a residential 20 unit townhouse estate, a medium sized regional retail area, a larger commercial office block and a large industrial factory site across four municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Sapoa KZN regional chairperson Karen Browne said the capital of the province has some attractive aspects to it over Durban. “The main difference between doing business in Msunduzi over eThekwini is that Msunduzi does not expect companies to pay a development surcharge for property development,” said Browne.

This may get companies second guessing the economic viability of setting up shop at the coast and one of the attractive municipal districts can be Msunduzi as it completes the link between Johannesburg and Durban.

Another area in which Msunduzi is more profitable is in zoning and rezoning costs.

The report said eThekwini has the highest residential costs in this regard, while it is the second most expensive in most other properties.

By comparison, Msunduzi is the second lowest in this area.

The belief that the cost of living at the coast is cheaper than inland was also challenged by the report.

“Building plan tariffs in eThekwini are almost R8 000 more expensive than in Msunduzi.

“And this cost needs to be filtered down to the consumers. So the old maxim of cheap coastal living is being challenged,” Browne said, adding that subdivision tariff costs inland are also cheaper then at the coast.

However, a major deterrent from developing in Msunduzi is that the existing infrastructure is aging and that developers are expected often to bear these costs themselves.

But, in all instances the costs in Msunduzi are still cheaper than those at eThekwini.

At R6 000 eThekwini has the most expensive sewage connection fees in the country, which is causing quite a stink among the local residents.

The issue of power in Msunduzi has the public up in arms. While they have the power, being R27 000 less than eThekwini, the public keep asking themselves how long they have it for.

Melanie Veness, the CEO of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business told The Witness that the municipality has a challenge with security of supply in this regard and a number of residents from the Hilton area voiced their concerns at having power cuts at least once a week. And despite this, the district is one of the highest consumers of electricity.

“The numbers speak for themselves. To develop a residential estate in eThekwini developers are expected to fork out R1 290 537 while in Msunduzi a similar developer is expected to fork out R1 116 649,” said Browne.

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