The real estate market, like most sectors in this country, remains male-dominated, with few women, let alone black women at the top of the food chain. This makes Mkhari something of an anomaly. She carved a niche in the property facilities management business with her company Motseng Investment Holdings some time ago.
When she finished her university studies, Mkhari landed a job as the Marketing Director of a CCTV company. A year later she started her own CCTV business – which would later become Motseng – after partnering with her long-time friend and property guru Sandile Nomvete, now CEO of the JSE-listed Delta Property Fund. “Sandile suggested we go into business together, and that was how we created an investment business that also has operational expertise.”
Getting the business off the ground was an ardous task. “I operated out of my father’s study in the beginning. I landed a CCTV contract with Kunene Brothers, and with no credit and no money to buy equipment, I had to get bridging finance from a bank,” says Mkhari. “The contract helped me secure the financing. The bank was impressed that I had something other than a hair salon or a catering business in mind.”
She had to repay the money within a month, so she made sure the installation was absolutely perfect. “Kunene Brothers paid me and I reimbursed the bank. That deal provided the seed capital for Motseng. After Sandile joined the business, we concluded our first deal with a large security company that was looking for an operational partner.”
“At the time, the concept of facilities management was huge. We saw that there was scope to differentiate ourselves from the guy with the bakkie. We brought security, guarding and cleaning services together under one umbrella and offered reduced costs for bulk work. Our move away from the soft services domain into property enabled us to start managing assets valued at over R1,7 million. Today, we are the largest wholly black-owned property management company in the country.”
She says Motseng’s first deal with Enforce Security moved her and Sandile into the big league. “That was where we learnt about investing in a business. Today we are creating a legacy. I want to be able to influence the way South Africans do business, and inspire young people to crack it in the business world. We are a good example to others as we have created a business that will survive without us.”