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Women continue to make inroads into the traditionally male-dominated South African property industry

Posted On Thursday, 11 August 2016 13:15 Published by
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Women continue to make inroads into the traditionally male-dominated South African property industry.


Genevieve Naidoo, Women’s Property Network (WPN) Chairwoman, acknowledges the changing face of the sector, with many women attaining prominent leadership positions in property companies and industry bodies. 

WPN is holding a gala dinner on 26 October 2016 in Montecasino to celebrate women’s achievements in the South African property sector.  

Prior to this event, regional events will be held in Durban – Thursday, 11 August 2016; Cape Town – Thursday, 18 August 2016 and Johannesburg – Thursday, 26 August 2016, to announce the regional nominees and the winners in the respective categories that will go forward into the national judging process.

These prestigious events have been proudly sponsored by Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), with the awards sponsored by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The awards are a collaborative platform dedicated to recognizing outstanding leadership, inspiration, vision and innovation in organizations that have stepped up and shaped women’s roles within the private and public sectors.

“The award categories reflect a wide spectrum of work these deserving women from the public and private sectors are involved in. This includes CEO’s, executives and leaders in corporate South Africa, SMME’s, government departments and agencies, as well as entrepreneurs,” says Sandi Mbutuma, WPN Vice Chair.

The following nominees have been recognized in their respective award categories for KZN:

YOUNG ACHIEVER AWARD (under 35 years old)

  • Sanam Shree, Chief Strategy Officer, Shree Property Group
  • Kholiwe Maziya, Human Settlements Officer, Tongaat Hulet Developments

The KZN regional winner for this category is:  Sanam Shree


  • Queen Mjwara, Regional Manager, Eris
  • Sandra Mqina, Head Operations (Asset Management), Delta Property Fund
  • Karen Petersen, Development Director, Tongaat Hulett Developments
  • Melanie Gillespie, Group Financial Director, JT Ross
  • Beverley-Ann Fink, Executive Leasing Consultant, Dormehl Property Group
  • Marcelle Stiemens, Portfolio Manager, Growthpoint

The regional winner for this category is:  Karen Petersen


  • Sibulele Diko, Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent, Provincial Project Manager, KZN

Sibulele has been recognsed as a regional finalist in this category and will go forward into the national judging procees.

The regional awards will be adjudicated by a panel of judges representing a range of industry disciplines, and the KZN judges included:

  • Nina Dube – Chief Credit Officer, Commercial Property Finance, Absa Bank Ltd
  • Marna van der Walt – CEO, Excellerate Property Services
  • Genevieve Naidoo – Head of Real Estate, Standard Bank CIB, and WPN Chair

Beyond recognizing women that have made strides in the sector, October’s gala dinner will act  s a fundraiser, with table sales raising funds for the WPN Educational Trust to ensure continuity in the bursary scheme into 2017 and beyond.

Ms Naidoo - also Head of Credit, Project Management and Valuations for Real Estate Finance at Standard Bank, a board member of RICS and a former WPN Rising Star Award Winner - maintains that educational and mentorship initiatives are important in WPN’s drive to prompt demographic change across the entire spectrum of the property sector.

Since 2008, the WPN has awarded 54 bursaries to previously disadvantaged female students studying towards a property-related degree or diploma. Further, with the WPN Educational Trust’s financial support, a total of 10 bursaries were awarded to students studying at various institutions across the country in 2016.

Continued investment in future female leaders is imperative. As the World Economic Forum finds, companies including women at top leadership levels tend to outperform those that don’t.  Moreover, in South Africa’s currently subdued economic context, deepening economic engagement of women as half of the country’s labour resource, talent and idea-set is critical to lifting the economy’s outlook. 

Ms Naidoo, says: “We continue to be overwhelmed by the generous support of companies in the industry and on behalf of the WPN Executive, I would like to thank contributors for their support, and specifically ACSA for partnering with us for what is going to be a spectacular event, and the RICS for sponsoring the awards and celebrating the successes of women in the property sector.”  

Last modified on Saturday, 13 August 2016 07:38
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