A successful South African businessman and entrepreneur, Rael Levitt formed several companies following his early successful sales of property and assets when he was twenty years old. Since that time, he has risen to the top of the asset sales market in Southern Africa, initially through his involvement in the auctioneering industry. He was the CEO and founder of several companies including Levco Group, SalesBid and the Alliance Group. In 1998, he founded the Alliance Group, which became a group of separate but integrated businesses that included Valuation Alliance, Auction Alliance, and Asset Alliance. He served the Alliance Group as its CEO from 1998 until 2012. Alliance became successful in conducting auctions and selling real estate and other assets throughout the African continent, which resulted in profitability for its clients by transforming assets into ready money.
In addition, Rael was a participant in South Africa's popular television programme, Top Dogs, which introduces South African citizens who have made remarkable strides in improving the society in which they live. As a participant in this programme, Rael Levitt became a household name in South Africa. Rael also regularly appeared on other television shows including two reality TV shows: The Block and The Apprentice. He also became a property and auction industry spokesperson appearing in newspapers, on the radio and was a well known lecturer on real estate and sales services.
Education and Organisations
Cape Town. South Africa is the city where Rael Levitt was born and educated. He attended the University of Cape Town and earned a degree. He became active in the local Marais Road Shul and was a Chairman of YAD in Cape Town. He also sat on the boards of the United Jewish Campaign, the Tsojana Trust and Glendale. He won an award as the Johnnie Walker Black Entrepreneur in 2008. He was a finalist in the 2011 Ernst and Young Global Entrepreneur Competition and was a multiple award winner of the USA Today NAA's Auction Marketer of the year. When he has spare time, he goes for a run, reads or travels.
South Africa's Top Auction Company
By 2005, Alliance became Southern Africa's leading auction and valuation group focusing its business on the monetisation of various asset classes and real estate. The company had unrivaled skill in placing the correct value on assets and turning these into cash. It had a presence in most major South African cities and regions, including Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Durban, Johannesburg, Nelspruit, and Port Elizabeth, along with foreign countries such as Dubai, Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia. As a market leader, Alliance enjoyed enormous success throughout the country and became trusted as a reliable partner in auctioneering.
Aiding Charity and Non-Profit Organisations with Auctions
Rael has been involved in many charities. One of his pet projects was supporting the impoverished and forgotten community of Tsojana in the rural Eastern Cape. Rael saw education as a primary concern, and made upgrading the local school his first commitment. In 2004, on his first visit to Tsojana, he was horrified when we arrived at the Lower Tsojana School and saw the Grade R (pre-school) children without chairs or desks. The grades seven and eight shared a classroom that was divided by a sheet. He made a decision then and there that Alliance would immediately buy furniture for the pre-schoolers. The community welcomed Rael on horseback, with girls doing majorettes, and a bull was slaughtered in his honour. Rael's next project was to build classrooms so that the various grades could have their own rooms. The classrooms, together with other buildings, stand as testament to Rael's involvement. Rael took a holistic approach to meeting the needs of the community. His vision entailed assisting with the building of a resource and study centre, a press library and computer centre, and a facility for skills development and training. Whenever his company had a good auction, Rael would cajole his sales people into contributing to the Tsojana development project.
Project Tsojana initially raised more than R500,000 for the local community and after Rael got involved, the Eastern Cape education department contributed by building toilets, additional classrooms and fencing. Rael's contribution to Tsojana, his flagship project, was not merely financial. Over the years, many of his colleagues developed an emotional attachment to the people of this village as they assisted in a range of projects and training programmes.
Rael's focus on being socially responsible: working on programmes that promote communities and the acceleration and endorsement of growth, was critical to his general business strategy. Besides being the country’s premier auctioneer, he used extensive resources to play a role in assisting many financially needy charities across the country through charity auctions. In 1998, Rael set up a charity auction department and named his activities ‘auctiontainment'. He would pay his auctioneers and staff who worked at these events. This became a progressively more popular way of creating awareness for a project or fund-raise that required assistance. Many of the affluent socially aware and community-conscious individuals in South Africa attended these auctions, enjoying the fast paced atmosphere and the merriment that invariably ensued. By making full use of the magical glitz, glamour and excitement of the auction mechanism, bids amounting to many millions were obtained. More than R59 million was raised for a variety of beneficiaries in the year 2011 alone.