‘NEW BLOOD IN OLD VEINS’

CityPress - - Business - LE­SETJA MA­LOPE le­setja.ma­lope@city­press.co.za

Bring­ing new blood into old veins. This is the slo­gan Jo­han­nes­burg prop­erty mogul Rale­bala “Rali” Mam­peule stands by and uses as a com­pass to stamp his in­flu­ence on an in­dus­try that he ad­mits is largely un­trans­formed.

With an in­vest­ment port­fo­lio that in­cludes res­i­den­tial prop­erty, Mam­peule (37) started his jour­ney more than 15 years ago.

He was born in Mok­wasele vil­lage in Lim­popo’s Mopani dis­trict to a fam­ily of seven sib­lings.

Mam­peule’s par­ents worked as a teacher and a Sa­sol work­shop man­ager.

He re­lo­cated to Davey­ton while still in pri­mary school and ma­tric­u­lated at Rand Park High School. He then stud­ied a BCom de­gree through Unisa while also run­ning a road­side busi­ness sell­ing boere­wors.

The turn­ing point in his life came when he met Paul Everitt, a real es­tate agent who was sell­ing his brother’s house.

Paul is the son of Charles Everitt, founder of Chas Everitt In­ter­na­tional prop­erty group.

A chat with Paul re­sulted in a meet­ing with Charles and a job as an es­tate agent, paving the way for a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in prop­erty sales.

He qual­i­fied as an es­tate agent in 2001 after writ­ing the board ex­am­i­na­tion.

“I got paid R16 000 after sell­ing my first prop­erty and I re­mem­ber I was so happy,” he said, rem­i­nisc­ing on the first deal he closed. Two years later, Mam­peule ap­proached his boss to buy a fran­chise. For­tu­nately, the Everitts were un­der­stand­ing enough to let him pay for the fran­chise over a pe­riod of time. He, in turn, brought in a 20% share­holder who pro­vided run­ning cap­i­tal for the fran­chise that em­ployed 40 es­tate agents im­me­di­ately. “In a space of two and half years, I made a turnover of over R350 mil­lion, so it be­came an at­trac­tive busi­ness to sell in 2005. It won awards and was do­ing well.” It was dur­ing this pe­riod that his star was on the rise and a num­ber of prom­i­nent awards trick­led in, in­clud­ing the 2005 Ned­bank Young Lion Award and the Ned­bank Prop­erty Pro­fes­sional of the Year award. He ap­proached the Everitts again, this time with a pro­posal to be their BEE part­ner, a deal that was re­jected, after which he sold the fran­chise back to the fam­ily for a hand­some fee and went solo, found­ing Phadima Group Hold­ings – his flag­ship in­vest­ment com­pany. On trans­for­ma­tion in the in­dus­try, Mam­peule said the city disagreed with the re­cent as­ser­tion by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma that there was still less than 5% black par­tic­i­pa­tion in the prop­erty sec­tor. He put the fig­ure at 10%. “The rate of trans­for­ma­tion is slow, this num­ber has been there for more than 10 years now,” he said. “The few guys that are al­ready in the in­dus­try are do­ing well, but what I have done is to start RM Learn­er­ship (RML), which is aimed at pro­vid­ing pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged in­di­vid­u­als with the prac­ti­cal skills that are needed for them to succeed in the prop­erty in­dus­try. The aim of RML is to bring new blood into the old veins of the in­dus­try,” he said.

RML has al­ready pro­duced more than 100 such own­ers and some are al­ready suc­cess­ful in their own right.

Then there is the JSE chal­lenge, which is where “the big boys play”, but few are black peo­ple, Mam­peule says, be­cause the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Board’s re­quire­ments for list­ing are quite strin­gent – list­ing for a black com­pany is not a walk in the park.

An­other way he is try­ing to play his part in trans­form­ing the in­dus­try and hope­fully blood­ing the “old vein” is by be­com­ing part of a group of black pi­o­neers ap­ply­ing to have their own stock ex­change plat­form that, if suc­cess­ful, will help emerg­ing busi­nesses.

He also said there was a per­cep­tion that you needed fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal to start off in real es­tate.

“You don’t need money to do real es­tate in this coun­try, for­tu­nately,” he said, cit­ing a deal he made with a de­vel­oper that in­volved buy­ing an en­tire devel­op­ment, promis­ing to pay within an agreed time frame and then sell­ing units be­fore he had to make pay­ment to the de­vel­oper.

Mam­peule’s big­gest mo­ti­va­tion and in­spi­ra­tion is his brother, who is also a well-known, suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man. He was part of the devel­op­ment of Villa Mon­tigo and San Ber­nadino res­i­den­tial es­tates lo­cated in Midrand that were built at costs of R32 mil­lion and R34 mil­lion, re­spec­tively.

Right now, he is busy with three pro­jects, two in Ekurhu­leni and one in Mid­dle­burg in Mpumalanga, with a com­bined value of more than R10 bil­lion and that will re­sult in 68 000 hous­ing units.

He also has a R40 mil­lion coun­try es­tate devel­op­ment in Tza­neen un­der way.

PHOTO: LE­SETJA MA­LOPE

PI­O­NEER Rali Mam­peule (37) is one of few black prop­erty en­trepreneurs

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