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From estate agent to property entrepreneur

MAIN IMAGE: Rali Mampeule, one of SA’s top black property entrepreneurs.

Former estate agent Rali Mampeule is today one of South Africa’s top black property entrepreneurs – this month he is representing a leading non-profit at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Switzerland. Speaking from personal experience gained over almost two decades in real estate, he shares his insight on what he believes is needed for a swifter transformation of the sector.

Starting from humble beginnings, Mampeule is living proof of the success that can be achieved in this sector (and in other fields) if one has the drive, work ethics and will to make a positive difference in one’s community.

Besides winning multipe awards over the past two decades of his career, he has also played a pivotal role in bringing about transformation and empowerment within the real estate industry and other businesses in South Africa.

Last year he was accepted into the prestigious invitation-only Forbes Real Estate Council and he became the founder and CEO of the SA Housing and Infrastructure Fund (Sahif) which is assisting government to address the backlog in affordable housing.

Having celebrated his 40th birthday in December, this month he is heading to Davos in Switzerland to represent the Rali and Makentse Mampeule (RMM Foundation) at the annual general meeting next week of the World Economic Forum. The RMM Foundation is the founding donor of the Global Surgery Foundation, a non-profit that works to provide access to safe and affordable surgery to people in poor countries.

Humble beginnings

Two decades ago, Mampeule was a street hawker selling boerewors rolls while studying a BCom degree through Unisa. A chance meeting with estate agent Paul Everitt, son of Charles Everitt the founder of Chas Everitt International property group changed the direction of his life.

Recognising the drive in the ambitious young economics student, the Everitts offered him a job as an assistant real estate agent which paved the way for a career in real estate. In 2001 he qualified as an estate agent and just a few years later he became the first black real estate principal in the country when he negotiated a deal to open his own Chas Everitt franchise in Midrand. The business thrived and won awards. Within one year Mampeule was able to pay of his business and another year and a half later he sold it back to the Everitt’s for a handsome profit.

For him that is part of what he loves about real estate, that ‘you don’t need money to make money’.

Read more: Entrepreneur: How Rali Mampeule went from hawker to entrepreneur

Giving back to the people

After leaving Chas Everitt, he founded his own property investment company, Phadima Group Holdings which expanded his field of experience to the commercial, retail and industrial property sectors. Other companies also founded by him include Landworth Holdings and Rali Properties.

Over the next couple of years his prowess as real estate business owner was recognised by SA’s business and banking sector with multiple awards. He also served on the disciplinary committee of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB).

Recognising the need for more empowerment initiatives to help bring more black people into the property industry, he started the Rali Mampeule Learnership (RML) in 2005. The aim of RML is to offer practical training courses and mentorship to disadvantaged individuals to equip them with the skills necessary to achieve success in real estate. As Mampeule stated, his aim with the learnership programme is to bring ‘new blood into the old veins of the real estate industry’.

Last year has been a particularly busy year for Mampeule. In April he co-founded the Rali and Makentse Mampeule Foundation (RMM Foundation) with his wife Makentse. The foundation is the founding donor of the Global Surgery Foundation, a non-profit that works to ensure poor communities all over the world have access to safe and affordable surgery.

A few months later, in answer to the President’s ‘Thuma mina’ call, he founded and became CEO of the R15.3 billion SA Housing and Infrastructure Fund (Sahif) in July. Through the fund vacant and unused land near towns and cities is bought up and sold back to government and the private sector after it has been converted into zoned and serviced stands. The idea is to help speed up housing delivery as government currently doesn’t own enough well-located, serviced land to meet the targets they’ve set for housing delivery to lower- to middle-income families.

Also in July, Mampeule was accepted as South Africa’s only member of the prestigious Forbes Real Estate Council, an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry from across the globe.

Rali Mampeule acting as keynote speaker at a function of the Department of Human Settlements (DHS).

Vital need for more training opportunities

Speaking from personal experience over the past two decades in the real estate industry, Mampeule says lack of education and training is what is hampering transformation in the sector.

“I think lack of education and training is hampering transformation as I believe we can no longer depend on blaming the past. We need to get training and activate on our own – all doors and opportunities are open and available for us to excel on our own in the property sector,” he says.

He says what is needed are more training academies that focus on training new real estate entrepreneurs in the industry and put young people on the ground. “Current agencies are already doing enough with property awareness, we must just put more efforts into education and training,” he comments.

Lastly, what would the advice of a top property entrepreneur be to new black interns in the real estate industry? “My advice will be to say that this is a long-term game, it takes time, but if you focus and work hard with proper skills in the sector you will win,” he ends.

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