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Big shift inbound for shopping malls in South Africa



The commercial and retail property sectors are hoping for the energy state of disaster to work in favour of the industry alongside the push for more rooftop solar.

Malcolm Horne, the group CEO of Broll Property Group, said that going into 2023, there was cautious optimism among the property services industry.

“Foot count in commercial and retail properties returned to pre-pandemic levels, which inspired confidence amongst occupiers to sign longer lease agreements.”

“Signifiers that the industry’s post-Covid-19 recovery was gathering momentum, despite challenges around raising inflation and energy costs plaguing the economy,” added Horne.

Horne said that despite recent developments mentioned in president Cyril Ramaphosa’s latest State of the Nation Address (SONA), the industry would be keeping an eye out on how it actually plays out in reality.

The group noted, however, that the commercial property sector also has a role to play in supporting the government in tackling the energy crisis.

“In the face of the enduring power and water cuts, we can do more to assist businesses in improving the productivity of their built environments. The commercial real estate service providers can play a decisive role in shaping a more sustainable future,” said Horne.

According to the CEO, on the build-up to the latest SONA, industries, organisations, and leaders urged the president to address the load shedding crisis directly and offer strategies and assistance.

In response, the government gazetted new state of disaster regulations, established a new ministry to ‘project manage’ South Africa’s electricity needs, and recounted a list of operational initiatives aimed at resolving Eskom’s debt, criminality at its stations and the enterprise’s eventual unbundling, the CEO said.

He said that the need for deep skills and expertise to remain in South Africa – as stressed by Ramaphosa- does not only apply to the energy sector but the broader real estate sector too.

“We need to bring our expertise to bear in all aspects of the real estate sector and support measures to bring more expedient solutions to the country’s energy crisis.”

“The president and, by extension, the government have repeatedly expressed their need for help in administering the state and society. This is more evident than ever as we grapple with rolling blackouts and oversee the Just Transition. Put differently, our nation’s sustainability is a collective responsibility.”

As eyes now turn to the Minister of Finance’s Budget Speech on 22 February, which is expected to unpack National Treasury’s adjusted bounce-back loan scheme and proposed tax incentive for businesses and households installing solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.

The commercial real estate sector expects to gain more concrete insight into how monies will be allocated to support the government’s ambitions.

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