The government could hold a critical part of the puzzle to unlocking the residential property sector for black entrepreneurs says Xoliswa Tini of Xoliswa Tini Properties.
Tini, who has announced that she is to franchise her brand in June, says that the property sector is yet to become more inclusive in the way it does business and bring on board emerging black businesses, particularly in new developments.
She is unashamedly forthright on transformation saying that the sector continues to favour historically-advantaged white male businesses at the expense of transformation to make the property sector more representative of today’s South Africa.
Tini talks from experience who says that developers and banks have sidelined black-owned agencies for these types of developments.
She says private developers, in particular, do not involve emerging businesses much if at all – whether as real estate agents, developers or in the construction of new developments.
“From the outside looking in, they have no interest in redressing the inequalities of the past regime and are betraying transformation. After 22 years, not much has changed,” she says.
The Estate Agents Affairs Board says only 88% of the country’s 50,000 registered estate agents are black, somewhat up on the 4% of 2007 but significantly down on the 2012 property sector transformation charter goal of 35%.
“This has to change or improve,” she says.
However, in the face of land expropriation, an issue unlikely to disappear for some time, the government could take a leadership role by using their land for new urban suburbs which will have a positive effect on the market for two reasons.
Firstly, the government, using current preferential supply chain criteria, could allocate these opportunities to black-owned developers, construction firms and real estate agencies such as Xoliswa Tini Properties.
It would create a demand, in the case of real estate agencies, for black-owned agencies who would score high on the ownership and skills development criteria. The same would happen in the case of developers and construction firms.
Tini owns the only black estate agent training academy in South Africa which was established in 2005.
The second advantage is that the government-led approach would provide access to the ownership of these properties, at reasonable prices, for a large section of the black population who cannot afford current market prices.
Tini agrees that property ownership is critical to creating a stable society and building wealth.
And some of the solutions which she advocates, she believes, are not new nor are they complex.
“In fact, in the old dispensation, people paid a nominal fee for their plots,” she explains.
“The solution is not complicated if properly managed. In essence, the government will donate land to developers who will, in turn, put in services and subdivide the land to decent plot sizes and sell these at a nominal and affordable price.
“But while the government has a role to play, so does the private sector and it has to do better. It cannot abdicate its role and responsibility to provide better access to opportunities in the property sector,” she ends.