Thousands of estate agents were recently shocked to receive an email from the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) stating that they have been disqualified due to outstanding continuing professional development (CPD) points. An action that was not totally unexpected according to Jan le Roux, CE of Rebosa, but said members who received notices despite having complied are invited to approach Rebosa for assistance.
A total of 4 346 registered estate agents were notified of non-compliance by the EAAB says Bongani Mlangeni, EAAB spokesperson. He says these are agents who had failed and/or neglected to comply with the mandatory CPD requirements for the 2015 to 2017 CPD cycle. They should have accrued 45 verifiable and 15 non-verifiable CPD points by 31 December 2017.
The Standard of Training of Estate Agents Regulations from 2008 makes it mandatory to complete CPD requirements over a rolling three-year cycle. The Estate Agency Affairs Act rules that estate agents who fail to comply with such regulations are rendered disqualified, but this disqualification is not absolute and disqualified persons may apply to the board for the issue of a fidelity fund certificate (FFC) for 2019 says Mlangeni. He explains what these agents need to do is convince the Board that it will be in the interest of justice to issue them an FFC for 2019. It is then up to the EAAB do decide whether they will issue an FFC and under what conditions if they do.
The CPD system was first introduced by the EAAB in 2015. According to Le Roux even then the programme was fraught with problems. “Agents could not register online, payments were not allocated, venues were overbooked, CPD cards were not issued and when they were, they could not be swiped for points to be allocated. The content was inferior and the costs prohibitive. These problems continued to be exacerbated by the EAABs failing IT system,” Le Roux said in a recent Rebosa newsletter.
For the past three and a half years Rebosa lobbied government, both the Department of Human Settlements and the parliamentary portfolio committee, as well as had numerous meetings with the EAAB, to try to resolve the CPD crises for their members and the property industry.
These efforts led to some significant amendments being made to the CPD programme among them the development of the E-Learning platform and later on also the ‘Catch-up’ programme where agents who weren’t compliant could earn CPD points online.
Rebosa also succeeded in persuading the EAAB to grant several extensions since the programme’s implementation in 2015. In February this year Rebosa communicated a final grace period for the CPD deadline until 31 March 2018 with no penalties for non-compliance with CPD for 2015, 2016 or 2017, as long the three-year cycle was completed.
In September the patience of the EAAB apparently finally ran out and agents behind in CPD points for 2015, 2016 and/or 2017 were notified by email that they have been disqualified.
Considering the support and opportunities given to agents become compliant, Rebosa will “unfortunately not be in a position to assist with non-compliance queries in this matter” said Le Roux. He advised affected members to adhere to the instructions they received in the email notification and while that issue is being addressed, to continue with accruing CPD points in the 2018 cycle.
Members who received notices despite having complied are invited to approach Rebosa for assistance.
The CPD deadline for 2018 is 31 December 2018. “Please complete the E-Learning and accrue the required points before this deadline to avoid disqualification and having your FFC revoked,” said Le Roux.
Many agents have been complaining that attending the CPD courses or watching the videos is a waste of time and money. Commenting on this issue, Le Roux said “It remains a pity that the content of the CPD courses are not on standard and not relevant, for example the new FIC regulations are rather complicated and training in this regard is overdue yet it does not yet form part of the CPD training. This is something that should have been instituted as a matter of extreme importance.” (FIC refers to the new Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Act which is currently in place and must be complied with. Ed.)
According to Bongani FIC training has been included in the 2018 CPD training programme and will be continued in 2019.
The National Property Forum was also approached for comment and Leo Mlambo, one of their executive members, said on their behalf that they are disappointed with this action by the EAAB of sending emails to their members “blocking them and virtually stopping them from operating because of outstanding CPD points”. Mlambo said they fully support all efforts to create a compliance driven environment, however they totally oppose “arbitrary actions” that he said might unintentionally derail the transformation process.
“Blocking principals and agents for CPD points means we are creating additional illegal practitioners out there and surely this is unacceptable. In our last parliamentary committee presentation NPF lamented the fact that the EAAB has become administratively focussed instead of being more industry attuned,” Mlambo said. He said the forum believes more consultation should have been done before this ‘drastic’ action was taken.
Do you have any comments to make on this issue or do you have proof that you were disqualified even though your CPD cycles were all completed and submitted on time? You are welcome to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.