The launch of the R360m Protea Glen Mall in Soweto last month represented not only the critical redirection of the country’s financial resources into the historically red-lined black areas but an important milestone in the development of a fine black entrepreneur, Mike Nkuna.
Through a vehicle called Masingita Properties, Nkuna has shattered the racialised glass ceiling that has marked South Africa’s commercial property industry.
South Africa’s commercial property industry carries value estimated around R780bn, a significant portion of which remains in the hands of white investors. An indication of black representation in the commercial property industry can be taken from the JSE’s listed property sector where direct black ownership remains far below the 10%. The JSE listed property sector is valued around R200m and can be considered to command better empowerment credentials.
A few black investors have entered the investment property game in the past few years but are still scratching the surface in the broader scheme of themes. These will include Sisa Ngebulana who has carved the Billion Group into a mainstream commercial property player and has spun out a JSE listed property portfolio. Other names are Saul Gumede of Dipula Properties and offcourse the infamous Roux Shabangu.
Nkuna has thus far built an investment property portfolio in excess of R400m which has a bias towards historically marginalised areas. His story dates back to the 1980’s and as such is an entrepreneur that has stood the test of the apartheid time. He did manage to adapt into the post 1994 era where politically activists switched into business and crowded out many black businessman of the pre 1994 era
Nkuna has been involved in various business sectors in what is now consolidated into an entity called the Masingita Group of Companies. This entity has a trail dating back to 1983. In 1989 Nkuna ventured into property development, construction and property management with a focus on black townships and rural areas. A statement by the company says the group “prides itself for with achievement of reversing the demeaning trend of substandard rural development and restoring the dighnity of black communities through the development of commercial infrastructure. . Since establishment the group has developed six commercial properties on its own and another four in partnership with Nedbank.
The Nedbank connection has flourished and is responsible for the delivery of the Protea Glen Mall. Protea Glen Mall is poised to capitalise on the rapidly developing middle income residential area of Protea Glen in Soweto which some experts have referred to as the “fastest growing suburb in the country”.
The centre houses more than 90 shops, including popular retailers such as Shoprite, Pick n Pay, Truworths, Edgars, Markhams and Clicks. Merchandise in the stores is of an upmarket nature which suits the more affluent status of the area. All the major fast food chains are represented in the centre including KFC, Macdonalds, Debonairs and Steers, as well as the major banks, Post Office, and cellular phone service providers.
In a statement released by the Nedbank recently, the bank said it funded through loan the Protea Glen Mall to the tune of R255 million and has also taken equity in the development. The Nedbank/Masingita connection is also responsible for the delivery of the Bara Mall, Diepsloot Mall Masingita Mall in Giyani and the acquisition of the Jabulani Mall which is also located in Soweto.
Outside the Nedbank fold Nkuna has also developed the Mangalani BP and retail centre, Masingita Plaza (retail development in Giyani), Sindowanye (copper recycling facility in Germiston) and the War College (South African National Defence Force accommodation and facilities in Pretoria).