Clarifying PDI exemptions on educational qualifications

MAIN IMAGE: Agents attending the EAAB’s Transformation PDI Resolution workshop in Khayelitsha.

There has been mounting confusion about what the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) meant exactly, when announcing that agents from the previously disadvantaged groups (PDIs) could apply for exemptions in terms of educational requirements.

The regulator came under immense criticism for allegedly proposing to send lesser qualified agents into the field. We regret to say that in part this followed on from our reporting that the educational exemption included in the EAAB’s “Transformation PDI Resolution” meant that agents from PDI groups “could work with a valid FFC for two years (which could be extended for one more year), while studying for the NQF4 qualification” – this was due to an unintentional misunderstanding.

Understandably this had many registered estate agents dismayed that lesser qualified agents would be allowed to practice in the field.

While it is true that agents from PDI groups may apply for educational exemptions, the exemption in terms of the NQF4 is an allowance for an intern agent to have (“a limited”) longer time to obtain the qualification and not that agents will be operating as fully registered agents while not fully qualified, as was interpreted by industry.

Training expert Ronel Bornman clarified the matter this week. She said:  “The resolution does not aim to provide leniency resulting in less qualified agents but as per the policy: “An extension of time may be granted for the estate agent to comply with the specific education requirements which are required in terms of the FFC to be issued” 

Bornman represents industry body Rebosa on the Services SETA Real Estate Chamber Committee.

Rebosa’s Adrianne du Toit, clarifies further that FFC requirements currently state that an internship in terms of the Estate Agency Affairs Act, is set to take place over a compulsory period of one year and the professional designation exam (“PDE4”) must be passed within 2 years – from the date of the first issue to the intern estate agent of an intern fidelity fund certificate. The exemption in terms of the proposed regulations only allows intern agents from PDI groups, based on a merit by merit basis, to apply for an “extension of time” to complete the qualification, subject to the Board’s approval that this is merited and that the intern meets the requirements to apply for same.

Agents from PDI groups may also apply to the EAAB for a special dispensation to be exempt or partially exempt, from Continuing Professional Development (“CPD”) requirements, adds Bornman.

Special dispensations have been granted by the EAAB previously e.g. the (“Over 60”) exemptions policy which assisted many agents to continue to practice as estate agents by acknowledging Recognition of Prior Learning (“RPL”) and without having to complete the NQF4 certification.

Property Professional apologises for our unintentional misrepresentation due to our misinterpretation of the EAAB PDI Resolution presentation. We remain highly committed to keep our readers updated with accurate, balanced reporting on property-related news.

While the EAAB have publicly stated that the implementation process has begun and inputs are invited in order to ensure that the EAAB is able to meet the needs of estate agents and implement the transformation process in an orderly and speedy manner; they have yet to advise industry on the full process to be followed and the exact implementation date.

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