Johan Rosslee grew up in Alberton and from a young age, construction was in his blood. The smell of cement that he grew up around, never left him. He saw his dad work himself up from bricklayer to a developer.
In 1989, age 25, Johan left Murray & Roberts as a junior Quantity Surveyor on a housing project on the East Bank of Alexandra, Johannesburg to work for Fibreflex Pools in Secunda. Three months later, on 26 June 1989, the company filed for bankruptcy.
Johan and his friend, Kurt Roos, saw a gap in the market, took a leap of faith and started Roos & Rosslee. The first job they did, came on 27 June 1989. After this Roos & Rosslee started making a name for themselves. What set them apart was the fact that they never ask for a deposit before they started and always would honor their guarantees.
The partners then went to the people’s homes where Firbreflex Pools had left the swimming pools unfinished and finished building their pools. They would work from 06h00 until late night. Clients of those days will recall seeing them at work even up to 22h00 at night.
Initially Johan struggled to sell pools but, one day he decided that he would under no circumstances leave the house until the papers were signed. “I sat in their house drinking coffee until eleven or twelve that night. I almost fell asleep, but they signed and I sold my first pool and from that day I could sell pools!”
Building pools gave the partners a chance to get to know their clients well during the six weeks it took to build the pools. Over the years they got to know Secunda and the people on all levels and every angle.
In October of 1990 Johan met Serene Hill. After only knowing each other for 2 weeks, the die was cast. They decided to get married when the Cosmos was in full bloom, the most beautiful time in the Highveld. 29 years and 4 children later they are still going strong.
In 1995 Kurt and Johan decided to buy land and develop properties. The first of these ventures was Ballynoran. From there, Johan never looked back and kept on buying properties and developing them. He said that he was taught by his father that when times are good, you build for other people and when times are tough, you build for yourself. At the end of 1997, Kurt decided to return to Durban, where he grew up. The vacancy Kurt left, opened the door for youngsters in the name of Johan Munnik, then 22 and Martin Keyser, then 18. In the following years, others would follow. Rikus Radley, Roelof Stander, Meghan van Papendorf. Recently Greg Missenden, Sifiso Buthelezi and Prince Hokomane.
The most important thing Johan never forgot and still does today is to ensure that the business is run like a family. Many of the employees that started Roos & Rosslee 30 years ago are still with him today. This is still a very integral part of his business philosophy to ensure that the businesses stay family orientated no matter how big or small. Johan also has an eye to assist young entrepreneurs in their endeavours by mentoring and coaching them in the intricacies of running a business. He greatly enjoys this part of his everyday life.
Roos & Rosslee is turning 30 years on 27 July and in Johan’s own words: “I was too dumb to be scared back then but looking back I’m not sure I would have made the same decisions I did back then, now.”
To give back to the community and to say thank you for supporting Roos & Rosslee and their associated companies, Dupcrete, Aquazone, Eish!! etc. Johan and his team planned joyous festivities for the weekend of 26 July to 28 July. There will be the Boere Mall on Friday and Saturday, live entertainers, the likes of: Sunset Sweatshop, The Dully Buggers, Zebra, Spoegwolf and Elandré, craft beer and gin stalls and a lot more to enjoy at Lake Umuzi Waterfront. The best part… Entrance is free!
Join us in the fun and entertainment for Roos & Rosslee’s 30th anniversary celebrations and wish them 30 more years of success!
“Originally written by Ané Prinsloo, The Bulletin”