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Rode Conference - Cape Town 2018

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Rode Conference – Cape Town 2018

Nina Vass, one of our professional valuers attended “The Future of Real Estate” Conference at the historical Spier Wine Farm earlier this week (2018-09-11). The conference was presented by Rode & Associates and REIM with a number of speakers covering varied topics relevant to the property industry.  The entertaining and well informed Nicky Weimar, Nedbank’s senior economist painted a bleak, but realistic economic outlook for South Africa as we battle through a technical recession with slowing GDP growth fueled by a decrease in domestic trade, which is made up of wholesale, car sales, foreign spending in SA, retail spending etc. Another concern is the fact that private sector employment has stagnated over the past 10 years with public sector employment conversely growing dramatically, this being unsustainable given that government funding (including salaries) are largely funded by taxes from the private sector. While the government have undertaken to remedy this disconnect, it will be a slow (and costly) exercise as early retirement packages are offered to public sector employees. Policy certainty is an area in which government can stimulate economic growth, but with phrases such as “expropriation without compensation” being thrown around, private sector growth stagnates as they are reluctant to expand operations in such uncertain times. With the 2019 elections in the near (but perhaps not “near” enough) future, government will be hesitant in making significant policy changes, which prolongs an uncertain economic environment. On a positive note, Nicky Weimar indicated that consumers are in a more positive position, having paid off significant debt.

On the technology front, Werner Riekert from Traderly spoke about Blockchain technology as being the future for global business with specific industries such as banking and the deeds registry being identified as being well suited to adopt this technology in the very near future. In a nutshell Blockchain is a “decentralized, tamper proof, continuously updated ledger” that automates a company rather than puts employees out of a job. Companies such as FNB, Nedbank, Discovery and SARB are already involved in this technology and the future should be interesting as we wrap our heads around this incredible technology and apply it to business.

The founder and editor of Noseweek, Martin Welz took us through the history of Noseweek, celebrates 25 years this year. While we shared many laughs given Martin’s good story-telling capabilities, it appears that no matter how prominent or large the South African company or businessperson is, the lure of money versus sound business ethics proves too much for some.

The Greater Tygerberg Partnership’s CEO,  Warren Hewitt introduced us to the exciting work that they are doing and their mission to promote Bellville as a business node to match Cape Town with investment into taxi, bus and train station upgrades to aid “Transport Oriented Development.” A suggestion by one of the panelists at the conference was for the Civic Centre-based ±10 000 employees to be relocated between Athlone and Bellville to stimulate growth in those areas and to show the City’s commitment to creating other viable nodes across the City, being linked by bus, taxi and rail transport. The ultimate aim is for people to live closer to where they work, which will be achieved with densification and diversification of land uses across the City. The big nodes were identified as being Cape Town, Bellville and Somerset West with aspiring nodes being Athlone and Philippi East with the aim of fixing rail networks and bus linkages. Unfortunately rail networks will take a long period to repair given the extensive damage to the existing network and the enormous capital required to repair it. Another panelist identified the importance of architects incorporating fibre conduits (at least) into new development plans so as to avoid the high costs of installation retroactively. The statement was made that fibre technology will greatly contribute to increasing the country’s GDP by aiding technology.

The conference included a great combination of speakers covering relevant material and aspects of the property industry, proving the many exciting and important industries that contribute to our property industry as a whole. It’s always beneficial to attend such conferences to share ideas with industry players, be aware of the challenges that the industry faces and try to turn challenges into opportunities.

Author: Nina Vass

Submitted 17 Sep 18 / Views 292