Highveld: For sale boards increasing

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It is heartbreaking to see proud men stand in a queue for a food parcel. These former Highveld employees have been dealt a poor hand when the steel giant closed its doors on Wednesday, February 10.
They are now anxiously trying to keep their homes, their cars and their pride.

Mr Gideon du Plessis, Solidarity General Secretary, summed Highveld’s fall up in a recent article he wrote.

“Greedy capitalists also have their share in Highveld’s demise. In the first instance, Evraz, the Russian owner was only interested in taking money out of the country and was not interested in investing a cent in the plant. Secondly, when Highveld was placed in business rescue in 2015 to protect the company, creditors and workers, Sasfin insisted on the immediate repayment of the outstanding R100-million loan granted to Highveld in 2014. Moreover, Sasfin imposed a penalty of R35-million for the early repayment of the loan, frankly an underhanded move to force Highveld to its knees because shortly before the move, Sasfin had made a ridiculous offer for the takeover of Highveld, which had failed though.”

He went on and wrote,

“Highveld made ceaseless attempts to obtain working capital of R150-million from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to get the structural mill, the only one of its kind in the country, going again to save 1 700 jobs in so doing. However, so far it was unsuccessful, this while the IDC recently announced that they were willing to support a Chinese group to establish a steel plant in South Africa worth R75-billion.”

Du Plessis highlighted that government’s training layoff scheme as dysfunctional.

“By the end of 2015, all Highveld stakeholders agreed to the scheme in terms of which affected workers would receive training in portable skills and the Department of Labour would pay the workers a monthly stipend. Despite the fact that the department had confirmed and approved the process and payment in writing, no allowances have been paid, and Highveld has been burdened with an additional cost of R34-million for stipends,” is Du Plessis’ belief.

The local economy has been seriously impacted these past few months.
This is extremely visible in the property market where, while there was a definite buyers market in 2015, January and February of 2016 have seen this move to a new level. Inventory in the residential property is growing at a rapid pace, and buyers have fast become more and more hesitant.

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Nissan Witbank has come on board and is making bakkies available to drop off donations from the public to Solidarity’s Helping Hand branch for distribution.

The laying off of thousands of employees at Highveld Steel and retrenchments in the mining sector has seen desperate home-owners no longer able to service their mortgages. Mortgage lenders have been assisting with temporary relief on payments in a great many cases, but with time the interest accumulating on these un-serviced or partly-serviced bonds is creating a problem where the settlement figures are growing. Newly unemployed homeowners are beginning to put their homes on the market in order to settle their mortgage debt and are finding that, unless they are pricing their properties ahead of the market, lower than market value in order to be more attractive to a shrinking pool of buyers, properties are not selling too quickly.

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The most exposed are those who have bought at market prices in the last seven years who, quite often, find that they are struggling to sell just to cover their settlement figures.

Significant role-players in the property sector Perfecto Properties, and Krugel & Heinsen Conveyancing Attorneys, are now offering relief to sellers in the form of discount packages for services and commissions to sellers who find themselves in a ‘forced sale’ situation and are struggling to market their properties and cover their settlement amounts without pricing their properties out of the market. These role-players are trying to give back to the community in which they serve.

Perfecto Properties managing director, Mr Peter Bennetto said

“In the present shifting market, properties for sale are coming in thick-and-fast and not selling as quickly. Sellers have to price their properties just right if they want to attract the interest of the market. Sellers who are compelled to sell their homes right now due to recent retrenchment must be critically aware of this and heed the advice of property professionals if they want to sell quickly. We want to heed the Estate Agency Affairs Board Code of Conduct and act in the best interest of our clients. Perfecto Properties is always willing to assist with our commission rates to see to it that the property of a serious seller is priced correctly”.

Queries regarding rates and services can be directed to: Perfecto Properties: Craig Lester or Peter Bennetto on 013 656 0330 or e-mail admin@perfectoproerties.co.za and Krugel Heinsen Inc: Delance Stevens or Ansonet Steyn on 013 653 6400 or e-mail ansonet@krugels.co.za.

Solidarity’s local Helping Hand branch is working tirelessly packing food parcels.
If you want to get involved in the Highveld/Vanchem support project contact Chris-Mari Hill from Solidarity on 072 180 2175 or e-mail: chrismari.hill@gmail.com.

*There are three drop off points for food, baby nappies and milk, namely: Anjo’s Property Management Services in Stander Street 16b, Apple Properties on the corner of Margaretha Street and Geringer Street 9B in Del Judor Proper and also Nissan Witbank on the corner of Mandela Road and Nita Street. Nissan made bakkies available on which people can come and drop off donations for the project.
*Dog and cat food can be dropped off at Dr Vernon Rezin’s Watermeyer Vet at 5 Totius Street.

  AUTHOR
Zita Goldswain
Assistant Editor

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