Nonhlanhla Mayisela is making her mark in the property industry.Photo: Supplied
DURBAN - As the property industry battles to cut through gender and racial barriers, a young entrepreneur is making her name in the predominantly male-dominated industry.

Nonhlanhla Mayisela says while there has been representation and development of black women in the sector over the past five years, more still needs to be done.

She is chief executive of Izandla Property, a majority black-owned property company powered by Investec Property and Investec Property Fund.

Izandla, which is isiZulu for hands, was launched in June last year.

“I had the time to actually grow with the organisation and as it evolved and grew into a global business,” Mayisela says.

“I was able to grow with it and therefore the development for myself came through that process.”

Mayisela is no no stranger to the property industry.

She was a property development manager at Investec Property for more than 12 years, sourcing end users through various networks, negotiating and concluding legal agreements, structuring development transactions and managing property.

She also had a stint as a senior manager for infrastructure and property development for Airports Company South Africa (Acsa).

Mayisela said she joined Investec Property at a very young age and at the time the property industry was still very small, very caged-in and the representation of females, particularly black females or black individuals and entities was non-existent.

She said this gave her an opportunity for both personal and professional development.

“The industry I think still struggles with diversity, both gender and racial diversity and to this day I think the setting up of organisations that represent the majority of the population of the country and giving access to opportunities in the sector to a broader community of people, female, black females, a diverse group of people, is still a bit of a challenge.”

Mayisela holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting from Unisa and a post-graduate diploma in management from Wits Business School, with a number of certificates in property from Wits plus, Courtwell Consulting and the South African Property Owners’ Association (Sapoa).

Besides being a member of Sapoa, Mayisela sits on the executive committee of the Women’s Property Network Gauteng Chapter and is the deputy chair of the Investec Bank Employment Equity Forum representing Investec Property.

Mayisela is also a member of the South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners, an organisation that seeks to ensure that previously disadvantaged people play an impactful role in the transformation of the property industry.

She says this is where opportunities for women in the industry lie.

“I must say that in the last five years there has been tremendous progress in terms of female development in the sector and their representation of females in the property sector has improved tremendously.

“We are not there yet, there is still quite a bit of work to do.”

Mayisela sees herself as an activist for empowerment.

She says she wants to see more black professionals and black practitioners as well as females getting access to the sector.

“Through Izandla I am afforded an opportunity to not only grow a property business that will then be representative of a more diverse entity, an entity that can impact different touch points, versus your normal traditional property business.”

She says while Izandla is a commercial property business, the positioning of the firm is through the shareholding of Investec’s Enterprise Development Trust (EDT), a trust which assists and helps grow the development of young beneficiaries.

Mayisela adds that EDT owns 65percent of Izandla of which 30percent of the 65percent is of female representation.

“Again the thread of empowerment in terms of females and racial empowerment is then representative through the EDT.

“So really the mandate of Izandla through its partnership with Investec Property and Investec Property Fund is to grow an unlisted property fund initially that will hopefully grow to the extent or tune of R5billion to R10bn in terms of assets under management.

“And as you can imagine that as our fund grows our ability to benefit the individuals, the entities that are in the Enterprise Development Trust becomes that much more significant.”

Mayisela says the EDT programme has benefited more than 1200 people in the past five years.

“As EDT continues to invest in Izandla and as we continue to succeed, then the extent of beneficiaries that we are able to reach through the programmes will then grow significantly.”

- BUSINESS REPORT