Work cut out for SAPOA president

Posted On Friday, 14 June 2013 12:08 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Moving SA’s multibillion rand commercial property industry out of the jurisdiction of the troublesome public works department to trade and industry will be one of Estienne de Klerk’s top priorities.

SAPOA presidentEstienne de Klerk has had an eventful couple of months. The protracted but unsuccessful bidding war with sector rival Redefine Properties for the R10bn portfolio of Fountainhead has no doubt kept the executive director of Growthpoint Properties occupied.
 
De Klerk has also been closely involved in the creation of the new real estate investment trust (Reit) structure, adopted by the JSE last month.
 
But as the new president of the SA Property Owners Association (Sapoa), De Klerk will now have plenty of other fish to fry.
 
Moving SA’s multibillion rand commercial property industry out of the jurisdiction of the troublesome public works department to trade and industry will be one of De Klerk’s top priorities.
 
The former Investec banker and chartered accountant, highly respected for his friendly yet forthright manner, says public works’ high turnover of skilled staff; its flawed leasing strategy which favours BEE landlords; and poor service delivery are having a negative effect on the commercial property sector.
 
“The trade and industry department is far better equipped to promote our sector’s interests and to help attract foreign tenants and capital to SA’s shores.” De Klerk says Sapoa also has to assist its members to deal with an increasingly complex regulatory environment. “Currently, there’s around 50 proposed pieces of legislation on the table that will directly or indirectly affect SA’s commercial property industry.”
 
De Klerk, born and raised in Port Shepstone on the Natal South Coast, also plans to lobby government to extend the benefits offered by the new Reit legislation from JSE-listed real estate companies to the unlisted property sector. “The new tax dispensation recognises property as a separate asset class, which will help boost both local and foreign investment in SA real estate.”
 
The JSE’s property sector, which has over the past 12 years ballooned from a market cap of R5bn to the current R230bn, is expected to be the major beneficiary of increased interest from offshore property punters. De Klerk, together with Growthpoint CEO Norbert Sasse, has played no small part in the listed property sector’s phenomenal growth story.
 
When De Klerk and Sasse, friends and squash partners from their days at Investec Private Bank, joined Growthpoint 11 years ago, assets under management were worth R1,5bn and the market cap was below R1bn.
 
Today, Growthpoint is the JSE’s largest property stock by far, with assets worth a substantial R55bn and a market cap touching R50bn.
Last modified on Thursday, 15 May 2014 10:56

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