Head of STANLIB Direct Property Investments and SAPOA President, Amelia Beattie, addressed delegates with an insightful President’s message on Day 2, 20 May at the Annual SAPOA International Convention and Property Exhibition.
Currently taking place in the City of Durban at the Durban ICC, the SAPOA Convention explores the REAL in Real Estate – a phrase that Beattie abides by.
As part of her tenure as SAPOA President, Beattie notes that the organisation has made progress on several fronts since her election to the Presidency in June 2014.
“We have advanced on several successful projects with the goal of representing, protecting and advancing our members’ commercial property interests within the property industry. These initiatives address many of your objectives and seek to overcome some of the challenges you face today on a national and local level,” says Beattie.
“Our efforts in this regard are only possible thanks to the knowledge and commitment of the very capable SAPOA members who volunteer their valuable time and resources to further the work of SAPOA and its committees,” she adds.
Beattie notes that SAPOA’s aim of putting the REAL back into real estate has been successful and continues to be achieved. The pillars of our industry – Relationships, Education, Advocacy and Leadership – have been the core focus during Beattie’s Presidency.
“SAPOA has built up key relationships with other industry bodies including the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; the South African Planning Institute; the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association and the South African Local Government Association to mention a few.
She continues, “SAPOA’s relationship with the Department of Public Works (DPW) has been a crucial step forward. With this relationship SAPOA will be able to communicate with its members on what new legislation means in order to help them benefit. SAPOA is able to act as a mouthpiece for the industry on what can be done together with the DPW”.
SAPOA undertook skills gap analysis research in order to determine the capacity and skills development needs relating to skills throughout the industry. The results of the research were announced at Convention – it serves as an important milestone which allows us to see what needs to be done and what skills need to be put into place, notes Beattie.
Furthermore, the SAPOA Bursary Fund continues to be an integral part of the organisation. In light of this, Beattie holds the view that various industry initiatives need to join forces in terms of their respective bursary funds and schemes in order to minimise the burdens and administration and maximise the benefits.
“Education is the most powerful tool which you can use to change the world. In the property industry we can use education to deliver real transformation and change. Education is the very key for us to begin to tackle the challenges that we are faced within our industry,” explains Beattie.
“The aim for 50 students to be empowered by SAPOA’s 50th birthday remains a vital goal was a challenge that we set last year. The driving of SAPOA courses on an e-learning platform continues as we endeavour to keep up with what is current, convenient and cost-effective for members,” she adds.
Beattie highlights that SAPOA’s legal advocacy ensures the organisation takes part in forming policy and enacting laws that impact the property sector. SAPOA monitors and analyses relevant Acts of Parliament, Green and White Papers, Municipal Ordinances and Policies, and submits formal comments on behalf of its members.
“We use advocacy to create supportive policies, and to remove and reform policies that are prejudicial to the commercial property sector. The property industry has been plagued with many issues, which have resulted in regulations of the industry and unintended consequences,” says Beattie.
Leadership within the property industry is pivotal as SAPOA aims to set trends and be at the forefront of protecting member’s interests, notes Beattie. “In 2014 we continued to drive this, and be the “voice of the commercial property industry” by undertaking pertinent research that drives investment decisions,” she adds.
“We also established the SAPOA Africa Focus Committee as we believe the collaboration of SAPOA members across the African continent is key,” says Beattie.
Beattie will proudly hand over the Presidency to Michael Deighton, Chief Executive of Tongaat Hulett Developments, as he steers the organisation into its 50th anniversary as the new SAPOA President for 2015/2016.
“I appeal to Mike that he continues with the SAPOA Bursary Fund initiatives. We cannot achieve our goals and dreams without educating the students of the future,” says Beattie.
“I pay homage to SAPOA Chief Executive Officer Neil Gopal for his 10th year as the organisation’s CEO. As an industry we salute Mr Gopal for a decade of his selfless contribution,” concludes Beattie.