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PE principals show united front

MAIN IMAGE: The committee of PEPPA at the launch on 6 September is: Seated from left to right Kobie Potgieter, Andile Ben-Mazwai, Julia Goss (chairperson), Gordon Smart and Jurie Kotze. Standing: Rob Lopes, Ncumisa Ndlakuse, Nikki Strooh, Leigh Parry and Mike Thomas.

Showing that a united front in support of ethical and professional conduct is possible in the property industry, a group of 124 principals have pledged their support to their own professional body, the Port Elizabeth Principal Practitioners Association (PEPPA).

According to the PEPPA chairperson, Julia Goss, the need to form their own professional organisation was identified at a meeting of concerned principal agents in June last year. The meeting followed after the closing of the local listing service and with Port Elizabeth not having local representation from industry bodies such as Rebosa or IEASA.

The purpose of the local association is summed up in their mission statement: “To further the integrity and ethical conduct of the real estate profession in Port Elizabeth by creating a formal body that will provide direction and mediation for participating Principals, with the aim of uplifting standards and resolving conflict.”

We were all hoping to present a unified front in order to make a stand for professional and ethical conduct. We are proud of our profession and don’t want our image tarnished by those who don’t hold to our principles and ethics,” explains Goss.

She said both national industry bodies Rebosa and IEASA have been supportive and encouraging of their initiative.

That there is local buy-in is evident from the number of local principals that signed up as PEPPA members within three months since the official launch of the association in September last year. Of these 78 have signed the PEPPA pledge – a public commitment to the professional and accountable management of their estate agencies.

The association’s steering committee has set up 4 sub-committees, which are Education & Training, Compliance, Metro Matters and Disputes.

They have set up a training calendar for principals at NQF5 level for 2019 with training scheduled to take place every three months. The training is presented by local attorneys on a rotary basis and is from 9am to 12pm. Principals are encouraged to submit ideas and areas that they would like training on.

Goss said they recently had their first training session and although the attendance (40 attendees) wasn’t as good as they had hoped, they are confident that it will grow. The feedback from those that attended was that the training had been valuable.

They have also had their first disputes hearing which tested the procedures as laid down by the Disputes Committee. The aim of this is to help settle disputes that principals were not able to arbitrate amongst themselves.

“Challenges include motivating some of the companies to join – some are quite happy to continue the way they are conducting business and ignore our efforts to meet with them,” says Goss, but adds, “All in all, we are excited to see the growth in our numbers as principals join us in our vision”.

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