Nomzamo Radebe is the CEO of JHI Properties, one of South Africa’s leading property services companies. She took the reins as the business’ CEO in 2014 and has since doubled its revenue and the size of its portfolios under management.
She is the current president of the South African Property Association (SAPOA) and served as the president of the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) over the 2015/2016 period. She is also a seasoned director, a board member of several strategic entities and a mom.
Nomzamo’s involvement in property began in early 2006, when she joined Pareto as its CFO. She later transitioned to become the company’s Chief Investment Officer, a position she filled until her move to JHI at the end of 2013.
As a qualified CA, she holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting, a Property Development Programme Certificate from UCT’s Graduate School of Business and a Certificate for Commercial Property Practitioners from the University of Pretoria. Her roots, however, are from more modest beginnings.
Nomzamo was born in Bethlehem in the Free State and grew up in Esikhawini, a township in Northern KwaZulu Natal. Her hardworking parents ‒ both teachers ‒ ensured that she and her older brother received the best education and exposure they could facilitate. Her father unfortunately passed away when she was 12 years old ‒ a great loss for her tight-knit family.
It was in grade 11 that Radebe decided to follow the charted accountancy profession, which she feels has provided her with an excellent technical base on which to build her career over the years.
Despite her numerous achievements, with becoming the CEO of JHI at the age of 36 on the top of her list, Radebe does not yet consider herself to be a success:
“I am proud of the noted achievements I’ve had in my life and career and am grateful for them. I do not consider myself a success in the bigger scheme, however. This is mainly because, when you are doing what you are passionate about, each achievement recorded is never a success for yourself but a contribution towards progressive change within a larger arena ‒ in my case, the property industry. Perhaps one day, when I am considered a ‘guru’ in my field, I may change my mind.
What is your life philosophy?
Giving respect to others and humility rank high on my list daily. Honest, hard work never hurt anyone and should be encouraged. Constantly evolve and innovate to remain relevant.
What are some insights and lessons you have gained over the course of your career?
“It’s important to have a game plan and execute this in a focused fashion. Driving high performance from teams is a skill not to be taken lightly, and the biggest room available in life is one of improvement.”
What is your vision for JHI into the future?
“JHI’s ongoing vision is to maintain its position as the preferred and leading property services group in Africa. We are always sharpening our pencils as our world is always evolving.”
What opportunities do you foresee in the future of the South African property industry?
“The real estate sector is a dynamic and valuable contributor to our economy. It is constantly evolving and becoming more complex. This is especially true for now, in tough economic times, where we are compelled to find new ways to ensure property investments continue to outperform other investment classes.
“I believe that real estate continues to be among one of the most exciting and innovative industries in South Africa, across the continent and around the globe.”
In your opinion, what makes a great property investment?
Yield high returns that are consistent and sustainable. The investment must generate consistent and growing cash flows and, when it comes to successful shopping centres, location and dominance are key.
What are some of your best property investment principles?
Never lose sight of the basic principles of good property investment. And keep it simple.
What one thing would you like to do to make an impact on the world?
Reinforcing the importance of education to our youth. In the words of Tata Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change your world”.
Children: 4-year-old daughter
Current reads: The Difference Maker by John C. Maxwell
Life motto: Always give it your best shot and that is good enough
Favourite quote: “Being progressive requires the ability to think beyond the impossible and outside the obvious”.