Business and Economy

Communal farming could boost auctioneering industry in Limpopo

Auctioneering mogul Tirhani Mabunda. Photo: Supplied

Limpopo-born auctioneering mogul Tirhani Mabunda believes that the province could benefit from a revival of communal game farming.

Mabunda, who built his fortune in auctioneering, said Limpopo had great potential to grow this industry.

“More than 50% of the total game population in South Africa is resident in Limpopo, of which half is owned by government and communities. Unfortunately, the Limpopo government hasn’t been using auction as part of its game reduction strategy for some time,” Mabunda told GetBiz.

“With regard to livestock, only commercial game farmers use auctions. Communal livestock farmers, who also happen to be mostly black, do not have any platform other than private treaty to market and sell their livestock.”

Mabunda said communal livestock farming had collapsed due to a lack of dipping stations and government extension services.

“A programme whereby communal livestock farming could be activated would definitely increase auction activity,” the Giyani native said.

Mabunda’s Tirhani Group Holdings is currently based in Sandton, Johannesburg. The group started out as a holding company in 2001, but has since branched out into petrol retail, real estate, funeral services and auto dealerships, among others.

Mabunda, a former teacher, taxi owner and Nando’s franchisee, has become a leading proponent of transformation since he made his name as a pioneer in the auctioneering business.

He recently launched the South African Professional Auctioneers Association (SAPAA), whose aim is to promote black auctioneers.

Mabunda said each year black-owned auctioneering firms only earn between 1.5% and 2% of R2-billion in fees.

He said that figure had not changed much in the past decade, despite efforts by him and other black people in the industry.

Mabunda was previously chairman of the SA Institute of Auctioneers (SAIA) but he said even in that position it was impossible to effect transformation.

“It is disconcerting that those of us involved in the auction industry have to struggle for so long and end up resorting to the desperate measures of seeking attention to get just, equitable and fair treatment,” Mabunda said at the SAPAA launch, held on May 25.

He said BEE fronting was rife in the industry, while black people had failed to support one another.

“The Broederbond may no longer exist officially and openly, but Afrikaners continue to support one another where they can. Most unfortunately, the same cannot be said for blacks.”

SAPAA plans to lobby National Treasury, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Small Business Development to support its cause.

It will also approach the Chief Master of the High Court to appeal for a more equitable distribution of work, especially liquidations. SAPAA wants at least one auctioneer from previously disadvantaged communities to be appointed in cases where an estate is worth more than R5-million.

SAPAA will also call for the establishment of a statutory watchdog to enforce regulations and standards in the auctioneering industry.


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