The forum’s voice will be heard says new president
MAIN IMAGAE: Elected on the NPF’s new board is, from left: Krigan Naicker, Leon Maart, Kadijah Farred (treasurer), Nomaroma Bam-Tshangana (vice-president), Mpho Monnakgotla (secretary), David Phashe and Leo Mlambo (president).
The National Property Forum (NPF) has as new president Leo Mlambo, one of their founder members. We asked him how he sees the way forward for in his words “undoubtedly the largest black real estate organisation with a national footprint”.
Mlambo drew attention recently when he fearlessly listed the challenges black estate agents face before the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements during a stakeholder session on the new Property Practitioners Bill in parliament. Read more here.
We asked him to tell us how he came to be this champion for transformation in the property industry?
“I have spent nearly 15 years in the financial sector with a particular emphasis on home loans and affordable housing issues in particular. Prior to being a general manager on affordable housing with Absa, I served as a national manager for Absa brokers for nearly six years overseeing a large team,” explains Mlambo.
A decade ago he founded a real estate company called Bondwealth Properties based in Gauteng. Today they have six agents and 39 interns who are spread out in the Johannesburg area.
He has served as a board member of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) and also served on various committees including chairing the Transformation Committee.
“I have over 10 years’ experience in management at executive level. My ability to operate within strategic and operational situations as well as negotiating skills has enabled me to play a major role in setting up a black estate agent organisation and bringing together three large black organisations to set up the National Property Forum.”
The National Property Forum
The National Property Forum (NPF) is a national section 21 organisation formed in 2010 out of the Nu Nation Property Network, the South African Black Estate Agents’ Forum and the South African Forum of Real Estate.
He says the NPF was established because there was “a need for a representative organisation that would represent the interests and promote the collective prospects of a grouping that have historically been marginalised with the real estate Industry due to a variety of factors”.
According to Mlangeni the organisation currently has a membership of more than 1000 agents and principals with regional structures in six of SA’s nine provinces making it “undoubtedly the largest black real estate organisation with a national footprint,” he says.
One of the other very visible industry organisations is the SA Institute for Black Property Practitioners, but Mlangeni says they mainly represent the commercial property sector where as the NPF is primarily there for the residential brokers.
Achievements to date
The NPF has notched several achievements since its formation amongst these Mlambo lists the following:
- Setting up relations with the International Real Property Foundation USA who sent a representative to conduct a lending and evaluation course to their members in 2014
- Managed to acquire a dedicated resource in the EAAB to handle NPF matters of compliance
- Provided bursaries through the Services Seta for NQF Level 5 real estate training for their members in 2015
- Participating in the ongoing Property Practitioners Bill consultation sessions
On biggest challenges to transformation today
It remains hard for young black people to enter the traditional property industry. Mlambo says it is a myth that the barriers to enter the property industry are low and that all practitioners need to do is to be able to sustain themselves financially for the first few months of operations. “For the majority of black real estate practitioners this is not possible!” he says.
Lack of exposure to opportunities within the property industry is another source of frustration according to Mlambo, adding: “This impediment also prohibits them obtaining sufficient knowledge and expertise to compete effectively. The same frustration also exists within black communities!”
Lastly in the last couple of years it has become more and more expensive to remain a registered estate agent with the EAAB. “Many of our members have had to drop out due to the expensive nature of the regulations on compliance,” says Mlambo.
Will the Property Practitioners Bill help transformation?
The forum fully supports the introduction of the new bill. “Barring a few issues we have raised in our presentation to the portfolio committee we believe the Bill offers a unique opportunity to change the landscape of the property industry and thus advance transformation in a way that has never been done before,” he says.
The way forward
For Mlambo the role of the NPF is crystal clear going forward. “The NPF will always play a critical role in setting the agenda for transformation and providing a platform for the previously disadvantaged within the property industry. Our relationship with our government is very solid and therefore we know our voice will be heard,” he concludes.
For more information on the NPF you are welcome to contact Mpho Monnakgotla (secretary general) on 072 23 8189.