A New Leaf for the EAAB?

In what is hopefully a fresh start, Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, recently announced the new board of the Estate Agency Affairs Board.

The EAAB was mired in controversy during 2011/ 2012 due to the Wendy Machanik saga as well as the resignation of CEO Nomonde Mapetla and Chair, Ina Wilken, and was eventually placed under administration by Minister Sexwale.

Many would argue that the board hadn’t functioned properly long before the scandals that rocked it last year, as was evidenced by the resolutions of the summit held in Sandton in July of last year. Six hundred delegates, representing 40, 000 estate agents convened to discuss the future of the industry.

Their conclusions were telling; the first resolution stated that the Estate Agents Affairs Act needed to change. According to Bruce Swain, MD of Leapfrog Property Group, the change is long overdue: “The Act, which was drafted in1976, most certainly cannot cater for the situations we experience in our new democracy. Provided that any amendments are based on common sense and resolution to drive change in the industry, to the betterment of all, we at Leapfrog are one hundred percent behind any alterations”.

The need for transformation was also slated as a high priority with Minister Sexwale noting that only 5% of the nation’s 40, 000 estate agents are black. “Leapfrog, as the nation’s only empowered estate agency, couldn’t agree more with the Minister. Since our inception in 2005 we’ve been working on tipping the scales in terms of equality and we’re looking forward to seeing broad based change within the industry”, says Swain.   

The new board members, as released by Sapa, include a variety of highly skilled, experienced professionals from a variety of different industries.  Members include Sikkie Kajee, Chief Audit Executive at Telkom SA, Mfanufikile Nsibande, Senior Analyst at the South African Reserve Bank and Dr Fazel Randera, Chairman of Meditech SA.

According to the Minster, the newly appointed board’s first call of duty will be to appoint a new CEO. Swain indicated that he hopes the new EAAB will act against illegal agents (agents practicing without Fidelity Fund Certificates) who damage the industry’s reputation by exploiting the public. Another long standing issue that needs to be tackled is that of the back log in terms of claims against the Fidelity Fund.

“I have every confidence that the board elected will perform its duty with the utmost consideration for the challenges being faced by the industry at present and we look forward to working with the EAAB to facilitate real change,” believes Swain.

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