Property launches own forum to speed up transformation
MAIN IMAGE: The group that participated in the inaugural meeting of the Property Transformation Forum on 2 October.
How can the transformation of South Africa’s property sector be accelerated? Finding practical solutions to this challenge is the main objective of the newly launched Property Transformation Forum (PTF).
Transformation has been an ongoing challenge for the property sector in South Africa. Despite government-sponsored initiatives such as the One Learner One Agency programme and also private learnership programmes, the latest Property Sector Charter Council report showed slow progress, even a drop from level 4 to level 5 in terms of the transformation BBBEE recognition level for the industry.
Industry body Rebosa mandated Howard Markham (Head of Special Projects for Rebosa) to engage with key stakeholders in the industry who would be keen to find ways to reduce the barriers to transformation. In this process he liaised with Vuyiswa Mutshekwane, CEO of the South African Institute of Black Property Professionals (SAIBPP) who immediately gave her support.
A meeting of well established* black property practitioners was held on Wednesday 2 October in Sandton, Johannesburg under the banner of the Property Transformation Forum. Representing the SAIBPP was Mutshekwane who chaired the meeting with Markham acting as facilitator on behalf of Rebosa.
Howard Markham (center) with on his left Pappy Ntumba (Redimat Properties) and Xoliswa Tini (Xoliswa Tini Properties).
Mutshekwane explains that the purpose of the meeting was “to engage directly with emerging black real estate practitioners with a view to gaining a deeper and more qualitative understanding of what the challenges are in attracting, developing and retaining black agents in the sector and starting to devise practical solutions around some of the key barriers to transformation”.
She says the property sector is stubbornly slow to transform and it is becoming increasingly evident that their challenges cannot be solved through regulation and policy alone. “As black practitioners and real estate entrepreneurs, we need to be part of the process of devising practical solutions and be able to guide and inform the process of transformation.
‘The real estate sector has a lot of potential to contribute to job creation especially amongst the youth but we cannot hope to attract and retain new talent and particularly young people into our industry if we are unable to support and capacitate the existing black practitioners’
“The real estate sector has a lot of potential to contribute to job creation especially amongst the youth but we cannot hope to attract and retain new talent and particularly young people into our industry if we are unable to support and capacitate the existing black practitioners, hence it was very important to ensure that the inputs of the emerging black practitioners was at the centre of the discussion,” she adds.
Both Mutshekwane and Markham are positive about the forum. Mutshekwane says the forum provides an effective platform for idea-sharing and vibrant debate. She’s positive it will pave the way towards a new approach to transformation while Markham says the feedback from the participants was hugely positive, there’s excitement and optimism for the future.
What happens next?
According to Markham Wednesday’s meeting started the research phase towards gaining a greater understanding on where action is needed to reduce current hindrances to the transformation of the property sector. Through discussion it will be determined what the strategy should look like to take on the identified barriers to transformation and then follows implementation.
What makes this forum different?
Markham says the PTF represents a fresh approach as they are unencumbered by constitutional structures. “Rather it is a diverse group of like-minded property people, willing to get working, who have a passion for propelling transformation in SA and who are frustrated by the hurdles that currently exist and which stifle progress. We want to change the status quo and not be just another organisation paying only lip service to it,” he explains.
‘This is not another meeting between existing representative bodies, it is a focus on learning from participants not normally heard,’
“We aim to create a groundswell of activity informing the South African real estate industry about this intention to positively drive real change and pace in transformation. This is not another meeting between existing representative bodies, it is a focus on learning from participants not normally heard,” he ends.
Future meetings will be hosted by Rebosa and SAIBPP.
Who can participate?
If anyone is interested and prepared to make a contribution, they are welcome to contact Howard Markham. Email comments are most welcome – the guideline is “What can I/we do today/tomorrow to promote transformation”. Contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
(*The initial text had the word ’emerging’ but it was brought to my attention that the practitioners attending were all experienced practitioners of long standing, with more than 10 agents and numerous properties for sale as well as contracts with portals. Established would be a better description then. Ed.)