EAAB appointment made

Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has appointed the president of the Cape Law Society and a former acting Cape High Court Judge Taswell Papier as administrator of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB).

The appointment is immediate and Papier is expected to serve in the role for six months.
While terms of reference have yet to be defined, Papier’s appointment is part of a set of measures designed to restore stability and good governance to the organisation.

The unravelling of the EAAB began last year with the Wendy Machanik fraud saga. It continued with the acrimonious parting of ways with former CEO Nomonde Mapetla and moved into the new year with the Auction Alliance scandal. More recently the company secretary was suspended and then re-instated. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the resignation of chairperson Ina Wilken.

“It was when the chairperson resigned that I became worried,” says Sexwale. “This is a good person, distancing herself. It had become clear that the EAAB was dysfunctional. We don’t know how far the rot goes, but we needed to act decisively.”

Sexwale said there are serious question marks around the management of the industry’s fidelity fund. While he could not put an exact figure on the value of the fund he noted that it was public money used to ensure the smooth running of a body tasked with overseeing “a multi-billion rand industry.”

Among Papier’s roles will be the implementation of turn-around strategies to improve corporate governance; the implementation of financial controls to ensure financial accountability; and the provision of strategic leadership to, among other things, restore the EAAB’s reputation.
He will be working alongside the EAAB’s acting CEO, Bryan Chaplog. Chaplog was subsequently re-instated after it was found the procedures followed by the board were flawed.
Papier, who is a director at Edward Nathan Sonnenberg, appears well suited to the job having extensive skills in mediation, negotiation and facilitation. He has mediated on a number of high profile commercial disputes and has acted for the public sector advising on Parliamentary and ministerial matters.

“We do not know how rotten things are. My task is to find out and clear it up.”

He will report directly to the minister.


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