Archives for July 2023

SA REIT unveils newly elected executive committee members for the 2023/24 FY

Estienne Resized 1

The South African Real Estate Trust (SAREIT) Association proudly announces the appointment of its newly elected office bearers and committee members for the 2023/2024 financial year.

The executive team comprises industry leaders committed to advancing the local REIT sector and aligning it with international standards.

Leading the Association’s executive committee is Estienne de Klerk, CEO of Growthpoint Properties SA, who has been re-elected as Chairman. Working alongside him are other re-elected members, including Joanne Solomon, the CEO of SA REIT Association, and Gareth Rees, Finance Executive and Chief Risk Officer of Liberty Two Degrees, who will continue in his role as Treasurer.


Joanne Gareth Geoff_Jennett

Geoff Jennett, Chief Executive Officer of the Emira Property Fund Ltd, was re-elected as the Chairperson of the Conference Committee. The committee is responsible for the planning and execution of the Association’s successful conference which will be held on 15 February 2024 and has opened for registrations.


Leon Andrew

Additionally, the executive committee includes Leon Kok (left), Chief Operating Officer of Redefine Properties, who has been re-elected as Chairman of the Accounting and JSE Committee. The committee’s primary objective is to develop and uphold best practice recommendations, ensuring property companies deliver outstanding annual financial and non-financial reports. This will provide investors with reliable and consistent disclosures in accordance with JSE regulations.

The Investor Committee, a key component in strengthening relationships and engagement with institutional investors, will be chaired by the CEO of Investec Property Fund, Andrew Wooler (right). This committee also seeks to enhance understanding of relevant sector issues while positively influencing the market’s perception of the asset class.


Tracey Ithu

Taking the helm of the Research Committee is Itumeleng Mothibeli (right), Managing Director of Vukile Property Fund, Southern Africa. This committee will focus on generating and providing access to high-quality, independent research concerning the listed property sector in South Africa and other pertinent markets.

The Legal and Competition Commission Committee will be led by the recently elected Chairperson, Tracey Wolf (left). This committee will address REIT-specific legislation and competition-related matters, collaborating closely with other industry bodies to ensure alignment on relevant issues.



Championing the Transformation Committee is Shawn Theunissen, Executive for Corporate and Social Responsibility at Growthpoint Properties. This committee plays a vital role in supporting broad-based black economic empowerment principles within the sector.

With 25 members listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the SA REIT Association is dedicated to assisting its members in navigating the complex regulatory and governance landscape. By addressing sector challenges and providing essential guidelines and support, the Association aims to meet stakeholder needs while promoting South African REITs as a compelling investment class, both locally and internationally.

SA REIT CEO Joanne Solomon says the expertise and dedication of the newly elected executive team and committee members play a crucial role in aligning the local REIT with international standards.

“We are confident they will contribute to the continued success of our organisation. Please join us in wishing them a successful term in office,” Solomon says.

GCR ratings affirm Dipula’s issuer rating of BBB+ (ZA) with a stable outlook

South African-focused, JSE-listed diversified REIT, Dipula Income Fund today announced that GCR Ratings (GCR) affirmed the Group’s national scale long and short-term issuer ratings at BBB+ (ZA) and A2 (ZA) respectively.

The ratings agency further attached a Stable Outlook to the long-term rating.

In their ratings announcement, GCR noted the ongoing solid performance of Dipula’s portfolio as well as the Group’s maintenance of financial discipline, including solid gearing and credit protection metrics as well as an improvement in financial flexibility.

Dipula CEO, Izak Petersen, commented:

“The affirmation of our credit rating by GCR underscores our efforts to improve operational and financial measures despite significant macro-economic challenges and a rising interest rate environment.

“We believe that there is the potential for an upward rating progression over the medium term, especially as we deliver on enhancing asset quality by converting some of our office assets to residential, as well as the current refurbishment and repurposing of some retail space.

“In addition, stable interest rates and the introduction of additional funders in our current financial year are expected to further improve our liquidity position.

GCR noted that Dipula’s capital structure should continue to improve, following the consolidation of two share classes into a single equity class with common rights in May 2022. Dipula has been able to negotiate a new syndicated debt facility with its major funders partly because of the single share structure. The new structure will allow for additional funders to be introduced over time, enhancing financial flexibility.

Despite higher debt levels used for capex, Dipula maintained stable gearing metrics with an LTV ratio ranging between 36% and 40% over GCR’s review period, well within the covenant level of 50%.

Although Dipula’s net interest cover ratio contracted to 2.8 times because of rising interest rates, GCR does not expect it to be near the 2 times covenant threshold.

In its outlook statement, GCR commented that Dipula is expected to continue displaying earnings resilience and that credit protection measures will remain in line with the rating level. It expects Dipula’s LTV ratio to trend between 35% and 40% and the interest cover ratio to be no less than 2.3 times and 2.6 times.

Beehive scheme brings sweet rewards at Emira

There’s a buzz around JSE-listed Emira Property Fund right now – and it’s nothing to do with the stock exchange. While bulls and bears tend to be associated with the world of listed property, Emira is quietly putting its weight behind another essential commodity: bees.

Since 2020, SA REIT Emira (JSE: EMI) has installed 16 beehives at eight of its properties in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal – and more are planned, wherever and whenever suitable.

According to Ulana van Biljon, Chief Operating Officer of Emira: “The beehive project was chosen to address the decline of global bee populations, which contribute so much to society, as well as the biodiversity of our properties.”

Bees are vital for pollinating plants, including food crops. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), a full third of global food production depends on bees as pollinators.

Simply put, all life on the planet relies on these essential workers, but they are increasingly threatened by human activity, under grave threat from habitat loss, pesticides, air pollution and climate change.

“Our bee conservation project is a holistic approach to reducing the impact of environmental degradation, which goes beyond planting trees,” says van Biljon.

The first hives were installed in August 2020 at Knightsbridge office park in the heart of the Bryanston business node, and Hyde Park Lane, a tranquil corporate address in Sandton.

These sites were selected, according to van Biljon, “due to their safe site location, the biodiversity of the surrounding landscape and the abundance of flowering plants which provide the nectar flow for the bees to produce honey.”

Subsequently, beehives were introduced at Wonderpark Shopping Centre in Pretoria North; One Highveld industrial premises in Centurion, Pretoria; Springfield open-air retail centre in Umgeni, Durban; Park Boulevard local shopping centre in Durban North; Albury Park, a garden-life office environment in Dunkeld, Johannesburg; and Epsom Downs Office Park near William Nicol offramp, Sandton.

Safety concerns were carefully considered, says van Biljon, noting that the public live in harmony with bees anyway: there are many natural swarms of bees throughout South African cities.

Emira’s beehives are managed in a safe, controlled environment, away from areas of heavy foot traffic and clearly sign-posted, while beekeeping activities take place at night.

The results so far have been sweet: these busy little workers have produced 85kg of honey to date from five hive sites: Knightsbridge (8kg), One Highveld (15kg), Hyde Park Lane (19kg), Wonderpark (20kg) and Albury Park (23kg).

The first honey harvests were shared amongst Emira staff and a few service providers, creating awareness of the importance of preserving biodiversity. It is their intention to make future honey available for their tenants at those properties that have the hives.

To the delight of the recipients, the honey collected from different properties all tasted unique. Bees tend to collect nectar within 3km of their hive, which meant Johannesburg honey was crafted largely from exotic garden ornamental plants like jasmine, lavender, rosemary and jacaranda trees. Meanwhile, Pretoria North – where hives are situated at Wonderpark Shopping Centre – has more indigenous plants, acacias, and grassland flowers, meaning honey with darker, flavourful herbal tannins.

All of it was delicious.

The honey is not for sale, although Emira is open to investigating charity initiatives as their buzzy new tenants continue to upscale production; instead, the profit is in biodiversity.

“Biodiversity is vital for healthy ecosystems, which support human well-being and the economy,” says van Biljon. “Healthy ecosystems form the ecological infrastructure of the country, providing clean air and water, fertile soil, and food.”

As part of Emira’s dedication to good environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices, it has committed to a “No Net Future Loss” policy, conserving and promoting biodiversity across its portfolio and reducing the company’s impact on the environment.

“The country’s natural ecosystems are threatened by land use change, degradation and invasive alien species,” according to van Biljon. “Climate change worsens these threats, but healthy ecosystems offer natural solutions that increase resilience. They protect communities from extreme weather events and enhance natural resources, livelihoods, food security, and habitats for animals and plants.”

With the beehive project, Emira is putting the bee firmly into business, living up to its reputation as a truly diversified, balanced real estate investment trust.