1966 - 2016 - Fifty years after its inception, SAPOA is considered an institution in the South African property industry. Regarded as an influential voice, it is able to bring the concerns and opinions of the property industry to government and other important stakeholders, both locally and internationally. It is easy to forget that over 50 years ago, SAPOA was merely an idea, a tiny seed that had yet to find purchase in the minds of even the most likely stakeholders.

Since many SAPOA members were not party to the discussions taking place in the 1950’s and 1960’s, it was left up to the imaginations of presidents, past and present, to imagine what was discussed around the table, all those years ago and to consider the property market at the time – which would have led to such an institution being formed.

THE PAST

For many, the end of World War II in 1945 is merely a date; recorded in the annals of history, but lacking in the weight of what it meant to be living in such a time. For the South African property industry, it heralded the opportunity to resume what had lain dormant for six years. After the war, when servicemen returned to the country, the need for accommodation was crucial. Office accommodation was in demand as businesses began operating at full tilt, and development in and around the city centre was in dire need. All in all, the property industry was an exciting industry to be in.

THE PRESENT

Today, South Africa faces some significant social, political and economic challenges. In order to be certain that decisions made will be mutually beneficial for all concerned, SAPOA realises the importance of ensuring its voice and the voices of those it represents are heard by government. But what of the future? What opportunities are presenting themselves? 2016 SAPOA President, Michael Deighton, believes that South Africans are a hardy bunch and one should, “Never waste a good crisis! Certainly, many economists would do so. This is one of the biggest inhibiting factors to real success in South Africa: a trust or shared experience gap between government and the private sector. If we can address that, the value that can be unlocked in that space is incredible” Michael Deighton, SAPOA president (2015 – 2016)

By working together, the opportunity to make long-lasting decisions that will have a positive impact in years to come is where success lies, for both the property industry and for the country.