There has been some amazing news of late. Sadly, we have become so accustomed to bad news that it washes over us in a kind of ostrich way. We duck and just hope the wind comes head-on so we don’t get swept of our feet.

So the good news!

RMB is about to build a property portfolio somewhat equal to its own portfolio of R82bn. What a vote of confidence in South Africa Incorporated [SAInc]and such good news for us all. When questioned as to the future of SAInc, the CEO, Herman Bosman said: We are South Africa optimists. Between the two companies we have around R150 billion invested in financial services in South Africa.” Quoting Moneyweb, Rand Merchant Bank Holdings (RMH) hopes its newly launched property business will eventually play a “meaningful role” next to FirstRand.

Like Redefine, RMB will not restrict itself to SAInc but will also be investing overseas. For instance, Redefine have done a mega-deal in Poland for 75% of real estate company, Echo Prime Properties, in March for R8 billion to boost its offshore exposure and will be reducing this exposure to approximately 50% in the future. Again quoted in Moneyweb, CEO, Andrew Konig says: “Poland offers us GDP growth that is more than what SA offers. And we believe we have invested in an environment where the tax rules are efficient”.

And thirdly [Wow, lots of Good News today], Moody has placed us on “negative watch”. If you ever wondered what Pravin Gordhan is doing in his day, be grateful that he and his Treasury team, with the support of business and government,  have convinced Moody Rating Agency to not downgrade Us a whole notch but rather to only move their watch-status from Stable to Negative. Negative, in this sense, is not negative but rather a wait-and-see to give us more time to implement elements of the National Development Plan and show the world that we can; not that we can’t. That we can settle down politically, that we can respect Chapter 9 institutions, that we can run a free and fair municipal election, that we can turn the tide of downward growth, that we can increase our employment, that we can reduce the cost of government, that we can continue to pay our debt, that we can keep the lights on and that we can feed our people despite the headwind of a debilitating drought. Indeed that we can continue to be the leading Constitutional democracy on the continent of Africa.

b2ap3_thumbnail_image004.pngEquity Market Response to Downgrade    b2ap3_thumbnail_image003.pngCurrency Response to Downgrade

b2ap3_thumbnail_image002.pngBond Market Response to Move to High Yield   b2ap3_thumbnail_image005.pngSA Repo Rate vs 5y Moving Average

So the bad news!

Watching President Zuma deliver his Presidency budget vote to a half-packed House of Parliament made me want to change the name to Par-Lament. What a sorry sight and what a sorry State of Affairs. It was the first time for a long time that President Zuma was able to finish a speech without interjection and walkouts. But all of the parliamentary privilege of challenge and questioning was missing from what should have been a debate not an address.  We do not intend to discuss the efficacy or otherwise of such abstinence of the Opposition parties. In fact, what I’m about to say in the rest of this blog, avoids many issues whilst it hopefully challenges us All personally to play our constructive part in SAInc.

Outside of the House, Mathew Theunissen added his sentiments to the race row that pervades our land. Other such incidents in the News went on the backburner for the week as Mathew apologized repeatedly for his late night misdemeanor. Tragic isn’t it that as millions of rands are corrupted and millions of people live in poverty in SAInc, we can be seized by race rows? Whilst they highlight the underlying inequity in our society, hopefully they also bring each one of us before the mirror to question our own ethics and stances to one another in the human race. One look at racism on Google and you are struck by how ubiquitous the problem is and how many countries are plagued by its scourge; but that is no excuse for SAInc.

These opening points bring me to the place where my heart is this Sunday morning.

We have the ability to read the negative and be part of its onslaught or read it, with introspection and wisdom together with the positive, and live like there is only upside. I’m going to write it again so you can read it again and THINK: “We have the ability to read the negative and be part of its onslaught or read it, with introspection and wisdom together with the positive, and live like there is only upside.”

An old preacher of mine used to say: “You cannot preach the measles if you’ve got the mumps”. Truth is, the house buyers of the future will be people of all colours and I can guarantee you that we have many areas in our country where 60-100% of the buyers are already people of every colour. Estate agents and professionals have already embraced the future of the Equity of People and their hard-earned Rands and are doing good business across all colours of people. Those with stereotypes entrenched over many years, have had them cracked and loosened and, finally done away with, by lovely people of all races, across all socioeconomic levels who only want the common good – a sound roof over their family’s head, a school for their children, and safety and employment for themselves and their immediate family. What could be less racist and more human for each of us to enjoy, than to recognize that this beautiful country of ours has place for Everybody in it? Will we meet horrible people? – of course! But they too will have their day as their pride is overtaken by the humility of good men and women of all races, religions and creeds who seek the beauty of this beloved country that shines through in the faces of all Her People.

So it is that I make an appeal to all of my readers. Get up tomorrow and look in the mirror. Acknowledge that we all have Rights and Responsibilities. We all have Influence for Good or for Bad. There are not Special People only Common People with Common Good in their Hearts and Souls. People who hold You in their Esteem as You hold Them in Yours. People who deserve a home and a bond and the confidence in the Future of SAInc to be able to afford it in the years to come. Acknowledge that there will be some horrible people amongst them but chose to judge them slowly for you may not have walked in their shoes – you may never know the journey that they have travailed to arrive at the door of your business. Accept them, Because they are Different. Do business with them because you Want to Help them Do and Be Better. Treat them with Dignity and with Respect – yours is not the need or right to change them but the privilege to help them with the biggest purchase they may have made to date in their lives. Take a bet with yourself that they will turn and smile before your dealings with them are over.

In essence, look at the Good and the Bad through the eyes of Patience and Kindness. Withhold Judgement until you have taken the time to be Mindful – Present in an Open and Accepting way. There is nothing like Powerful Interpersonal Skills at a time like this in our nation. We stand on the brink of Rating downgrades but we will not re-rate ourselves as People of South Africa Incorporated. No force on earth, political, social, economic, or global, should be allowed to detract from us being Men and Women of Truth and Confidence and Reconciliation in our spheres of Influence and Persuasion.

I commit myself to this Way of Being. Homeloan Junction commits itself to treating all People with Dignity and Respect. Our great property industry, full of men and women of Good Repute, would demand nothing less of us as members of it and citizens of SAInc.

Yours in Property

Jack Trevena