|Intro||South AFrican auctioneer|
10 May 1971
Rael Levitt (born 10 May 1971) is an entrepreneur and business owner from South Africa and an auctioneer.
Rael Levitt founded several South African real estate, investment, asset trading and auction companies. He is known for developing and promoting the auction industry in Southern Africa. Levitt began his career with his first property sale at the age of seventeen and the formation of Levco Property in 1989. In 1992, he founded his first auction company, Levco Auction Group. Levitt was responsible for high-profile sales including the assets of Freddie Steenkamp and politician Allan Boesak’s Foundation of Peace and Justice. In 1995, Levitt sold Levco to Seeff Holding’s Chairman, Lawrence Seeff, and after acquiring Boland Bank’s auction arm, became the Managing Director of Seeff Auctions. Levitt was named Vice Chairman of the South African Institute of Auctioneers and in 2011 was inducted into its Hall of Fame.
After the delisting of Seeff Holdings Ltd in 1998, Levitt completed a management buyout of the auction business. He renamed the company Auction Alliance and became its CEO based in Cape Town, South Africa.
The company opened in several cities, including Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Nelspruit, Upington, Windhoek and Dubai (United Arab Emirates). Auction Alliance became South Africa’s largest auction house. Levitt also started several other subsidiaries and companies related to Auction Alliance including: Salesbid, Asset Alliance; Alliance Business Brokers; Alliance Finance; and Valuation Alliance. Auction Alliance acquired several real estate, auction and valuation companies.
Levitt worked to improve the image of the auction industry in South Africa by various approaches including Multiple Auctions and the development of the RAP (Rapid Auction Programme). In 2006 Auction Alliance sold a 25.1% stake to Amabubesi Investments and in 2010 a 31% stake to Transaction Capital. By 2011 Auction Alliance’s turnover was over R300 million. with sales of over R6Billion.
In 2012, a dispute arose over a property that Rael Levitt brought to public auction. The dispute was covered extensively in the media and Levitt stepped down as CEO of Auction Alliance and as a member of the national auction association. The court cases that followed resulted in his vindication.
Rael Levitt organized and conducted charity auction events between 1992 and 2012 raising over R250 million for various charities including the Nelson Mandela Children’s Trust. Many of the country’s leading auction fund raisers in South Africa were trained by him under his “auctiontainment” brand. Rael Levitt was appointed as trustee of the Rambam Trust and the founder Trustee of the Tsojana Trust. which built schools and educational facilities in the rural Eastern Cape of South Africa. He has sat on the boards of various other charitable institutions including the Glendale Home, the United Jewish Campaign and the Edom Trust.
Levitt is a member of the Cape Town Jewish community. He was executive committee member of South Africa’s largest synagogue: Green and Sea Point Hebrew Congregation. In 2010 Levitt was appointed as the Chairman of YAD and sat on the board of the United Jewish Campaign.
Awards and recognition
Rael Levitt was the recipient of the South African Jewish Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008 and was a finalist for the South African Ernst and Young World Entrepreneur competition in 2011. He also won the USA Today National Auctioneering Association’s annual awards several times.