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New SAIBPP president has a passion for transformation

MAIN IMAGE: Tholo Makhaola, new president of the South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP).

Tholo Makhaola is the new president of the influential advocacy body, the South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP). Passionate about transforming the property sector, he shares his views on this as well as other topical issues in the industry.

Makhaola is a professionally trained architect and is currently the chief operations officer for architect firm 472 Studio. Previously he was the associate executive at leading architectural company SVA International where the design and implementation of the company’s transformation strategy and initiatives were his responsibility.

As board member of the SAIBPP his responsibilities for the past four years has focussed mainly on skills development initiatives. Makhaola represented the advocacy organisation at the Black Business Council and he serves on the Real Estate Chamber of Services SETA.

Makhaola was the vice-president of SAIBPP until September when it was announced that he is the new president during their elective AGM. We asked him a couple of questions.

How did an architect become so involved in the greater property sector?

I am a professionally registered architect who studied at the University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela University) who is passionate about transformation.   I have always been disheartened by the fact that our industry (property and the built environment) have not had adequate representation of black individuals specifically at a decision-making level in large organisations. My involvement in property as an architect stems from my observation that us as “built environment practitioners” are seen as service providers to property practitioners and as a result there is an impression that we are subservient to property practitioners. I believe that there is merit in built environment professionals being an integral part of the various processes that property practitioners undertake to bring developments to feasibility and reality.  

What is needed to transform the property sector?

The transformation of the property sector in my mind needs to be seen holistically across the entire value chain which starts from land / property owners (developers), development managers, down to the professional team involved in an individual property transaction.

The reality is that one of the keys to transformation is the government’s policy frameworks that must create an enabling environment for black business to favourably thrive in.

Secondly, the private sector is extremely well positioned to afford black business the best prospects to create a sustainable pipeline of opportunities. Intentional, innovative and genuine enterprise development support initiatives are also a key factor that will allow black businesses to thrive as well as the nurturing of a pipeline of black executives in the listed property space which will go a long way in encouraging transformation initiatives to be seen through. At our recent convention, I quoted one of our keynote speakers for having said “To effect meaningful transformation, big business is the problem, but big business is also the solution”.

With the advance of digitalization, what future is there in the property sector?

The advance of proptech is one that cannot be ignored as it influences the building typologies that are mostly profitable for landlords. Proptech also shapes the overall way in which the new generation of property practitioner will engage with property in general. Young people are at the cutting edge of technology in terms of how they are educated. Their overall view of the world and their innovation will most likely define how property transactions are undertaken in the future. This also includes built environment professionals whose various professions are starting to become a lot more intertwined with the advent of BIM (building information modelling) and IWMS (Integrated Workplace Management Systems).

What role will the SAIBPP play in effecting change?

The SAIBPP is an advocacy organisation tasked with facilitating socio-economic transformation within the property sector and the built environment, the role I see us playing can be broken down into four main categories:

  1. Policy – The formation of our policy committee over the past board tenure has allowed us to make inputs at a policy level that make a meaningful impact on our membership
  2. Education – The emphasis on our student chapters on various campuses and our practical property entrepreneurship course, allow us to empower and position our members as thought leaders in the property space. Our corporate members provide opportunities for mentorship and internships to the students in the student chapters
  3. Enterprise Development – The imminent launch of our database of pre-verified black property professionals that span across the entire property value chain is a unique platform that we created to eliminate the perception that there is a lack of credible property and built environment practitioners
  4. Ownership – We are cognisant of the role property ownership plays in the provision of opportunities for black property and built environment practitioners and will be making a conscious effort to encourage owners of various properties including government, which is the largest owner of land in the country, to engage black professionals across the value chain more aggressively.   

Now in it’s 23 year of existence the SAIBPP is a non-profit organisation mainly for the commercial property sector. The organisation has been influential in shaping national policy with regards to B-BBEE legislation and SMME development in the property sector.

Also read: Meaningful transformation requires a shift in attitude

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