EAAB summit defines multi-pronged approach to industry ailments

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

Following the recent two-day Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) summit, Seeff chairman Samuel Seeff has lauded the move by the Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale and EAAB administrator, Advocate Taswell Papier, to engage with the industry.

“This is a leap forward and we welcome the steps taken by the ministry to open the floor and debate the significant issues that face the industry in a move towards finding workable and sustainable solutions.”

Adrian Goslett, chief executive of RE/MAX Southern Africa, says it is encouraging to see that Sexwale and the department are taking a proactive approach to resolving the industry issues.

A few months ago the EAAB was placed under administration and Sexwale called for a special investigating unit to probe it and the state of its fidelity fund. Summit discussions on the EAAB involved further expansion on the steps to be taken to get the board's affairs in order, along with the appointment of new board members who will be able to follow through on the steps required to keep the EAAB on the correct path.

Also at the summit, Sexwale said that he is determined to close the gap between affordable housing and the more established market – and he sees the industry playing a vital role in achieving his vision of a transformed housing scenario.

This in turn, says Berry Everitt of the Chas Everitt group, will promote widespread wealth creation and economic growth. Everitt is encouraged by the Minister’s willingness to address issues that need to be resolved before this transformation can come about, starting with the proper functioning of the as the statutory regulator of the industry.

Justin Clarke, CEO of Privateproperty.co.za, says that the transfer of responsibility for the EAAB from the Department of Trade and Industry to the Department of Human Settlements, and the fact that an administrator was swiftly appointed to put its affairs in order, can only be seen as positive developments.

These processes are going well, according to the report-back at the summit by the administrator, Advocate Taswell Papier.

The second issue that needs to be addressed, says Everitt, is that of compliance for all with regard to both the qualifications and the registration required to practice as an agent. “The majority of established real estate companies have no issue with the need for a system of rigorous agent training and registration, or with the need for trust accounts and audits to ensure that our clients’ funds are being safely administered.”

He says that compliance would become easier if all the various pieces of legislation that currently affect estate agents, and which have to be taken into account in every property transaction, could be simplified or perhaps drawn together into just one or two Acts.

As for the transformation of the industry to be more representative of all races, genders and ages, which was the third major issue raised at the summit, Everitt says: “We fully support this objective, as do most large companies where much transformation has already taken place and continues to be encouraged.”

Clarke believes that the pace will increase as the Minister continues his drive for the clean-up and integration of the housing market as a whole.

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