Through its initiatives, such as its bursary fund and Young Professionals Forum, the South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP) aims to nurture the next generation of black property leaders and professionals. The organisation also provides property education and coaching, and matches talented students to internship opportunities with corporates.
SAIBPP’s Young Professionals Forum Committee
The youth who are benefitting from these initiatives are pursuing various careers within the property sector.
‘A rewarding profession’
Nthabiseng Makgabo (26), an asset manager at Respublica, a student accommodation company, was part of the first cohort to benefit from the SAIBPP Bursary Fund in 2013.
The SAIBPP Bursary Fund gave Makgabo the opportunity to study towards a BSc Property Studies Degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. Having graduated in 2016, she took on a number of roles in the property sector before securing her current position as an asset manager. Her role includes doing market research, compliance administration, debt raising and carrying out reporting on student residences among numerous other duties.
Makgabo chose to pursue a career in the property sector because it mixes her two passions for construction and accounting. “There’s a lot to learn and it’s a rewarding profession with so many different career options,” she says.
“One can become a developer, who is responsible for managing a project from start to end, from financing right through to administration. Being a facilities manager is another option where one manages the day-to-day running of the property, such as ensuring that the cleaners and security guards are effectively carrying out their roles, making sure electricity and water are paid and finding out the reasons for any skyrocketing bills, among numerous other tasks. Among the range of career opportunities is also going into valuations to determine the value of a property, the rental amount, etc., or being a lending analyst where one’s responsibilities revolve around managing the bank’s relationships with clients.
“I’m passionate about my job because the kind of accommodation a student lives in can really impact their studies,” she says.
“Property affects our lives every day, impacting on how we live and work and interact with each other, so it’s an interesting field to work in. Property is also a great investment vehicle because it appreciates in value, one can get a second bond on it and it promotes generational wealth.”
SAIBPP’s Young Professionals Forum
In addition to being an asset manager, Makgabo is also head of SAIBPP’s Young Professionals Forum. Launched in February 2020, the Young Professionals Forum consists of around 1000 black students studying property-related courses, as well as property entrepreneurs and professionals. The forum’s student members are from several student chapters, including the University of Johannesburg, the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo.
“The forum’s aim is to drive transformation within the property industry by giving its members valuable skills, knowledge and guidance about the property industry,” explains Makgabo. “It aims to drive the careers of its members in various ways, such as running diverse conversations on the property industry. Part of these engagements are weekly webinars by industry experts to promote career growth and management, while providing them with the relevant skills to navigate the sector.”
Topics of webinars have included entrepreneurship, employment and career growth, how to participate in the property industry and how to go about buying property, among numerous other themes. The forum also links students to property professionals who become their mentors, clarifying any coursework they don’t understand, informing them on how various systems work and guiding them on how to handle themselves in meetings, etc.
Support is also provided through property industry players giving presentations to students pursuing property-related degrees. Going forward, Makgabo plans to run Young Professionals Forums in student chapters across the country.
Passionate about property
Slindele Msibi (24), who is from Piet Retief in Mpumalanga, is also a SAIBPP Bursary Fund beneficiary. Currently in her honours year of her BSc in Property Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, she enjoys how the course is all-inclusive, providing knowledge on real estate development, valuation, entrepreneurship, law and market analysis, etc.
“I was actually studying towards a BSc in Biological Studies and then dropped out when I found out about the BSc in Property Studies,” she says. “I’ve always loved property and the built environment, but only became aware that there was a property degree after I got to Wits.”
Once she graduates, her first choice is to get into property development and investment and her second choice is valuations.
“Property development involves getting potential investors to provide the funding needed to construct a building,” she explains. “I’m also interested in development sustainability where resources such as solar electricity and roof gardening are used on buildings.”
Passionate about property, she would also love to go into valuations, especially for office blocks, which involves finding the value of a property through evaluating the environment it’s in, how far it is from schools and shopping amenities, the building material used to construct it, among numerous other factors.
Last year, Msibi was chairperson of the SAIBPP Wits Students Chapter. In this role, she organised events where industry role players, such as real estate developers, architects and valuers, spoke to students about various property-related issues to help them on their journey in the sector. Her work also involved organising a mini-mentorship programme so students can better understand the industry before venturing into it.
“I really enjoyed these events because I got to meet professionals who’ve been in the industry for years,” she says. “They motivated me and showed me my future possibilities. In my course and in my vac work, I’m one of few black people there, so it’s great that SAIBPP is working so hard to bring about transformation.”
Gaining practical experience
Like Msibi, Sinenhlanhla Langa (24), who is from Newlands West in Durban, is a beneficiary of the SAIBPP Bursary Fund. Also in her honours year of her BSc in Property Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, she was attracted to the course because it’s economics and finance-related and provides numerous career options which pay really well.
“I’ve learnt so much through the course, such as about corporate finance, real estate investments, building technology, valuation of property, property laws and so much more,” she says. “It’s an interesting, practical, challenging course.”
In addition to the course, Langa also does a weekly internship at Fortress REIT Limited, a property development investment company. SAIBPP put her in touch with the company and she’s really enjoying the practical experience she gets by working with the finance department, retail management and the centre managers.
Her goal is to get into asset management of shopping centres and office parks. “I would really like to be part of the management and maintenance of these buildings,” she says. “There is so much that goes into being an asset manager at a mall, like managing the portfolio manager, whose job includes ensuring that rentals and electricity have been paid and managing the facilities manager, whose role involves ensuring that the cleaning and security services are being properly carried out.
Langa loves that there are so many avenues in property, like being an estate agent, working in property finance, doing valuations on municipal properties and estimating municipal rates in an area, etc.
Her dream is to launch a property NGO where she educates young, black women about the different fields within the property sector. “I want us to know about the opportunities out there and to realise our power and full potential.”