Published on News 24 / City Press by Lesetja Malope
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Bringing new blood into old veins.

This is the slogan Johannesburg property mogul Ralebala “Rali” Mampeule stands by and Rali Mampeuleuses 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.