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Marna van der Walt takes over as the new President of South Africa’s shopping centre council

With her extensive property experience and reputation for industry leadership, Marna van der Walt has been appointed President of the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC).

The highly regarded CEO of Excellerate Property Services Group – which includes group companies JHI Properties, Excellerate Facilities Management, Sterikleen, Interpark and the recently acquired Enforce Security, among others – Van der Walt has some 20 years’ experience in the property sector.

Amanda Stops, SACSC CEO, comments: “Van der Walt’s professional knowledge, commitment to advancing our sector and valuable experience will all contribute significantly to furthering the SACSC mandate.”

SACSC was launched in 1991 to advance the retail property and retail sectors of South Africa. This active official umbrella body of shopping centres in South Africa enjoyed significant membership growth and promotes the interests of the sector both in South Africa and internationally, through an agreement with the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC).

The SACSC is a vibrant organisation focused on creating, nurturing and sustaining the industry.

As President of SACSC, Van der Walt intends to build on the excellent foundations already in place, and find new ways to expand horizons for South Africa’s community of shopping centre owners and retailers through its platforms for business and education.

[pull_quote_center]“There are rising concerns about the state of economic affairs in South Africa, stemming from labour unrest, business closures and rising interest rates. While there seems to be a wave of adversity heading our way, there are also exciting opportunities for the taking, especially in sub-Saharan Africa,” says van der Walt.[/pull_quote_center]

She adds: “As an organisation that exists for our members, SACSC’s focus will continue to be providing the tools to thrive through adversity by working together, and helping pave the way to new opportunities in South Africa, on the continent and around the world.”

Van der Walt adds that making inroads for South Africans to benefit from internationally recognised qualifications is one of the big items on the SACSC’s agenda for the coming year.

“It’s important to open up our horizons and show the rest of the world that we’re on a par when it comes to our capabilities, ethics and governance. This sends the message that we are to be taken seriously – both Africa as a continent and the professionals that operate here.”

Van der Walt matriculated from Linden High School in Johannesburg. She holds a CA (SA) and a B.Compt Hons and a Certificate in the Theory of Accountancy both from University of the Free State. She also has a M.Comm (Financial Management) Cum Laude from Rand Afrikaans University, has an Advanced Taxation Certificate from Unisa and is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, where she is a member on its Governing Council (International).

Van der Walt completed her articles with KPMG in Bloemfontein, and progressed her career from part-time lecturer at Vaal Triangle Technikon in Secunda, to Senior Accountant at Sasol, then to the position of CEO at Gensec Property Services, now JHI Properties, and CEO of Excellerate Property Services Group.

With a passion for service to her industry, Van der Walt is a former President of the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) and is a director of the Property Charter Council and a member of the Women’s Property Network and several other professional organisations. Van der Walt has also received numerous professional awards for her leadership role as a woman in business.

Creating a powerful platform for business and education, Van der Walt notes that one of the most compelling opportunities to work and learn together is the SACSC’s Annual Congress. This year it takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 20 to 22 August 2014, and is themed “Inspire”.

The congress, sponsored by Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, will bring an unmatched line-up of international leading lights to South Africa’s shores, as well as feature the best and brightest minds in South African retail.

“The Congress represents an excellent convergence of business, education and inspiration. It’s networking with a purpose,” says Van der Walt.


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