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Hello from the CEO | Leon Cohen

Leon Cohen

As we celebrate our 43rd anniversary, Rabie can truly say that it has seen ups, downs, and all kinds of roundabouts.  We’ve lived through booms, survived dips, and witnessed how the bottom of the economy dropped right out during the financial crisis in 2008/9.  Yet, we have always been able to look ahead at the next year or two and have a general idea of where the country and industry is headed, with a few contingencies built in.  What happened in February 2020 changed the playing field.

There is no doubt that the landscape has changed dramatically, and certain sectors of the property industry will take much longer to recover than others.  Hospitality has seen the biggest impact, followed by the office market.  Tourism and conferencing can only commence its recovery when the vast majority are vaccinated, and travel can take place on a normalised basis for both business and leisure.

The novelty of working from home has worn off for many, and businesses are increasingly aware that for growth and developing a team culture, staff must be at the office, whether it’s full time or on a 60 to 70 percent capacity.  Working from home is only comfortable if your home environment allows it, and mental health is an increasing concern as we live in a world with no boundaries between work and home.

The ripple effect of corporates and medium to large businesses not being at the office, not only impacts on their own growth and profitability , but stretches across all related industries – cleaning services, coffee shops, restaurants, and informal traders in the immediate vicinities and on the travel routes.  Creating employment and ensuring growth, is the only way to direct our country towards the path of recovery.

At Rabie, we continue our focus on our Oasis Life retirement developments, as well as residential schemes, with a concentration on the R850 000 to R2.5m bracket. This market continues to thrive as lower interest rates enable many more first-time home buyers to afford a property investment.

Our other divisions like Big Ben Construction, RPA Property Administrators and Century City Connect are all operating at full capacity, and this augurs well for the group.

Our confidence in the future is evident in that we have five new developments planned for the latter half of this year and early in the new year.

South African history has proven that when the economy hits rock bottom, no matter what – it recovers and even excels.  After 1985, after 1998, after 2003, after 2009, and it will recover after 2021. This normally offers good opportunities to get back into the property market.

At Rabie, we are optimistic about the future.  We have a young executive team in place to take us to the next phase as we embrace change .  We might not be able to see the horizon as clearly as we would like to, but we believe that the glass is more than just half full.

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