Rebosa reaffirms commitment to transformation in SA’s real estate sector

Rebosa reaffirms commitment to transformation in SA’s real estate sector

MAIN IMAGE: Richard Gray, chairman of Rebosa, says finding a solution to the challenge to transform the property industry remains the first priority. Photo: Picturess Photography

The all-important question of transformation and finding a practical and sustainable solution to this challenge remains the number one imperative for the residential real estate industry says Richard Gray, chairman of the Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (Rebosa).

He says while more black people are entering the industry, this is not happening fast enough. “Economic transformation and inclusion is central to the growth, development and sustainability of our sector and the country in general,” Gray said while delivering his chairman’s report at Rebosa’s annual general meeting held earlier this week in Cape Town.

The organisation is currently in discussions with various stakeholders and institutions to develop a transformation agenda. “We intend to approach the new minister (of Human Settlements) with a view to working together with government and its various bodies to tackle this challenge and develop a meaningful and practical strategy,” Gray says.

With their members collectively employing more than 15 000 estate agents, Gray says this makes Rebosa the most representative body in the real estate sector in South Africa. He encouraged agencies to join the organisation by emphasizing the importance of having numbers for a strong collective voice to be heard and to effect change.

Property Bill perhaps law only by early next year

Over the past four years Rebosa spent considerable time, energy and resources challenging the Bill which has since been unanimously approved by all political parties in both houses and now only needs the president’s signature to become law. Their efforts to ensure a practical, just and transformative piece of legislation met with limited success. “There was an urgency from government to pass the bill before the general elections on 8 May,” Gray says. However, there were some concessions made and Rebosa has been invited to participate in the process of drawing up regulations that will give effect to the Bill.

Jan le Roux, the organisation’s chief executive, spearheaded Rebosa’s campaign. He told members he estimates that this process of drawing up regulations could take as long as six months and that he expects the Bill only to become law by early next year.

Le Roux listed a number of problematic issues in the Bill that Rebosa will lobby to address. These include:

  • Principals being held accountable for actions by interns (there are currently 22 000 registered interns)
  • Agencies and all employees losing FFC status if a director is deregistered
  • Attorneys being exempted from qualifying as estate agents.
  • That all individual property practitioners must have a tax clearance certificate and BEE certification

For a detailed account of the issues remaining to be addressed, read Le Roux’s verbal submission to the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements.

As mentioned there were some concessions made such as that FFC’s can be issued for three years instead of only annually and that agencies with an annual turnover of R2.5 million or less will be exempted from a full audit on trust accounts although with reference to the latter concession, Le Roux says they aren’t sure if it will only apply to black-owned agencies.

“What I personally find problematic here is that our government is marketing and selling this Bill as the big transformation Bill. Quite frankly while Rebosa is very pro-transformation … what we are saying is this Bill won’t fix this overnight,” says Le Roux.

Update on dealings with the EAAB

Le Roux said he has met Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi, the new CEO of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) a few times and he can see she is really trying hard to turn the regulator around to improve it’s service delivery – a task which comes with huge difficulties as there are many issues they must address. “But she has made a positive difference,” says Le Roux.

Nevertheless, despite numerous meetings between Rebosa and Mohlala about the roll-out of phase 2 of the One Learner One Agency programme, the organisation stands firm that they can’t support the programme without qualification unless a new approach and methodology with appropriate timelines are considered, says Gray.

“It is common knowledge that the programme failed dismally with less than 355 of the 906 learners originally recruited for the programme, completing the qualification. To date we do not know if any of the learners who completed the programme are still retained by the industry,” Gray says.

To find out more read: EAAB recruiting for ‘new’ One Learner programme

Rebosa also works closely with the EAAB’s Legal and Compliance team to investigate complaints of agents and agencies suspected of trading illegally that the organisation receive through their Whistle Blower link on their website. Gray says 110 cases were successfully investigated and closed and a further 253 cases are currently under investigation.

Furthermore, Rebosa has a dedicated person to handle the thousands of queries they receive from agents about FFCs, CPD and Section 27 compliance issues. In the past financial year Fiona Chaitowitz had to work through 3 032 queries of which 2 786 were resolved successfully and 246 remain that are currently being dealt with. Gray thanked her for her dedication and hard work.

Services SETA plans roll-out of e-learning platform

Following consultation with the Department of Higher Education, Services Seta and other stakeholders, Gray says Rebosa was instrumental in the 5-year period extended to real estate qualifications after the previous period ended in June 2018.

He says he can also confirm that the Services Seta is in the process of developing an e-learning platform and introducing an e-monitoring process for NQF4 and 5 real estate qualifications. The implementation and roll-out is expected to take place in June/July.

Gray further reported the good news that their interventions led to most learners recruited for the discretionary grant being paid their long overdue stipends.

Rebosa is represented on the Services Seta Real Estate and Related Services Chamber Committee by Ronel Bornman, national human resource development manager at Seeff. Rebosa director and CEO of Huizemark, Bryan Biehler, serves on the Property Sector Charter Council Technical Committee.

Ronel Bornman

Bryan Biehler

Gray ended his report speaking about the importance of finding a practical and sustainable solution to the challenge of transforming the country’s residential real estate industry. He encouraged their members to support their initiatives in this regard.

The ten members that serve on Rebosa’s board of directors are: Dr Andrew Golding (Pam Golding Properties), Samuel Seeff (Seeff), Amanda Cuba (RE/MAX), Tony Clarke (Rawson), Nico du Plessis (Residential Network Systems) with the following five nominated and elected at this year’s AGM: Jan le Roux (Rebosa), Bryan Biehler (Huizemark), Richard Gray (Harcourts), Paul Campbell (Natal Property Consultants) and Bruce Swain (Leapfrog).

The guest speaker was Anastasia Haji-Pavlou, director of STBB, who explained the practical implications for estate agencies of the more risk-based approach of new FIC Amendment Act. From 1 April 2019 all estate agencies have to comply with requirements of the new act which must include having a risk management and compliance programme (RMCP) in place and keeping a risk-evaluation of each client. More will follow on this topic in next week’s Property Professional newsletter.

Anastasia Haji-Pavlou, director with legal firm STBB, addresses the Rebosa members on the requirements of the FIC Amendment Act. Photo: Picturess Photography

The complete chairman’s report is available on the Rebosa website

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