Dijalo Properties prospers by holding back

Posted On Wednesday, 06 March 2002 02:00 Published by
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Black-owned group shuns instant riches in favour of integrity and a strong operating base

Saul Gumede

The long route to financial prosperity taken by Dijalo Properties, a blackowned and managed property services company, reflects the conservatism of its owners, Saul Gumede and Hosia Malekane.

They do not make headlines with huge mergers and acquisitions, but have made significant strides in penetrating a white-dominated industry.

'I belong to the old school and do not subscribe to the idea of getting rich overnight,' says Gumede.

'We have given ourselves ample time to establish a strong operating base and good name, and the money-making business should follow.'

Established in 1999, Dijalo has grown the portfolio of property assets under its management to about R700m. It includes assets from high-profile clients such as Old Mutual Properties.

The group has several divisions: asset and property management, marketing, broking, development facilitation and consulting. Property management is the largest division.

In addition to Old Mutual, Dijalo manages portfolios for the Transnet Pension Fund , Saccau Investment Holdings and Public Investment Commissioners .

The development and consulting division is involved in a joint venture with RMB Properties, managing the R1bn development of the MTN Campus in Fairlands, north of Johannesburg.

The first phase, which is under construction, consists of a 25500m² multipurpose office building and infrastructural works, due for completion in midSeptember. Construction of the second phase, with another 22000m² of offices, will start midyear, with completion envisaged at the end of next year.

Gumede says the group hopes to gain experience on the MTN project that will allow Dijalo to handle projects of this nature on its own.

Dijalo is also part of a consortium appointed to advise government on how to manage its R120bn property portfolio.

It is said that Dijalo has declined a number of proposals which could have taken the company's name to the top echelons of the industry.

Says Gumede: 'We only get involved in deals where we can add value and not be spectators.'

What he seeks is fulfilment, and this can only come out of the quality of the work Dijalo produces, and not necessarily how much money it makes.

Gumede says he was broke after leaving Old Mutual to establish Dijalo.

'I could have opted for short cuts but did not,' he says.

Finance has been one of the most difficult aspects of starting the business. Gumede says: 'When you approach (financial institutions) for funding, they require collateral and a track record which you can only have after a few years.

'They want to fund you when you no longer need them.'

Gumede and his partner both hold BComm degrees, Gumede from the University of Zululand and Malekane from the University of the North.

Gumede completed his articles with Deloitte & Touche and in 1985 joined Old Mutual, where he became a financial manager. After a stint at Sefalana Employee Benefits Organisation, he returned to Old Mutual in 1994 as a regional investment manager.

Publisher: BD 

Last modified on Saturday, 03 October 2015 11:34

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