A heartfelt apology might have cut it, denial does not

A heartfelt apology might have cut it, denial does not

MAIN IMAGE: Mamodupi Mohlala, CEO of the EAAB; Jan le Roux, CE of Rebosa.

The CEO of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) says the regulator did an excellent job with the 2020 FFCs and has refuted any claims that she failed to deliver on her promise to issue FFCs by 20 December 2019 to all legally compliant estate agents who paid their fees on time – fact is, hundreds of agents are still without certificates.

Last Friday Property Professional received a statement from the EAAB’s CEO Mamodupi Mohlala. She begins by stating that “the EAAB would like to place the following on record with regards to your article published on propertyprofessional.co.za on 16 January 2020 headlined “EAAB disappoints”.

Mohlala then continues to say that she refutes “in the strongest terms” allegations that “the EAAB reneged on its promise to issue FFCs to all legally compliant estate agents who paid their fees on time” and “the impression that the FFC process is in tatters”.

She then sets out the process followed by the EAAB to issue this year’s FFCs. According to Mohlala by 31 October, the final date to renew FFCs for 2020, the EAAB had received 29 727 applications from estate agents who were fully compliant and paid their fees.  She says all of these applications were processed and issued by 20 December 2019. In total the EAAB had issued 30 483 FFCs by end of business on 20 December when the EAAB offices closed but a skeleton staff remained to attend to outstanding FFCs Mohlala says.

She adds that the list of outstanding FFCs sent by Rebosa on 10 December was also cleared by 20 December and says that Rebosa sent another list on 15 January with 740 outstanding FFC queries. According to Mohlala this second list had several duplications as some of the agents on the list had contacted the EAAB separately.

Mohlala acknowledges that there had been delays in issuing some FFCs but says that was due to the following reasons: late renewals and payments, estate agents paying the wrong amounts and some submitting incorrect details. There are also cases of deregistered or blocked agents.

According to Mohlala the EAAB had done an excellent job with the issuing of FFCs. “We again confirm we have done an excellent job by issuing 33 165 FFCs timeously and thus ensured continued economic activity of our estate agents,” says Mohlala.

She concludes by saying by COB on 16 January 2020 a total of 33 165 FFCs had been issued and made available on the EAAB portal for downloading and printing.

“No estate agent who is fully compliant and has paid all due monies will be denied an FFC. The EAAB reiterates its commitment to the industry to deal with all FFC related issues as a matter of urgency,” Mohlala ends her statement.

In response Property Professional brought under the CEO’s attention that many agents in response to the same article had indicated that they had paid timeously but were still awaiting their FFCs. Jan le Roux, chief executive of Rebosa, was also asked for his comment on the matter. He responded that hundreds, if not thousands, of compliant estate agents are still without certificates and that many received their FFCs later than 20 December.

Here follows his response as received yesterday afternoon:

Mission accomplished has now moved to “we have done an exceptional job”!

I so wish Ms Mohlala did not issue this statement as it leaves me no choice but to comment.

If one was to take the response of the EAAB at face value, you would conclude that all was well and that Rebosa’s initiatives to ensure that agents receive their 2020 FFC’s timeously were and are unnecessary.

Much is made of the number of certificates issued, complaints, duplications, extra capacity, agents erring in applying/paying and what not.

The number of unissued certificates and agents left in the lurch is downplayed. The real issues are buried in the detail.

No degree of obfuscation can hide the facts:

  • Hundreds, if not thousands, of compliant agents are still without certificates and many more received theirs later in January and not as promised by 20 December last year.
  • Many agencies had their certificates cancelled erroneously due to supposed outstanding audit reports, sometimes iro years prior to the establishment of those agencies.
  • Many issued certificates were issued incorrectly iro firm names, agents’ and principals’ designations.
  • In many instances payments were not allocated and certificates not issued.
  • Some FFC’s reported issued appear not to have been issued at all and often certificates issued could not be downloaded.
  • FFC’s were not issued to many due to supposed non-compliance with CPD requirements.

By 31 March last year 51 430 certificates were issued, the EAAB now proudly announces the issue of 33 165 by 17 January – a difference of more than 18,000. Of course, more can register before 31 March, but such a discrepancy undoubtedly underlines the fact that many certificates still have not been issued.

Rebosa is still receiving complaints daily and has an outstanding query list of hundreds. It must also be considered that not all agents lodge their queries with Rebosa. In fact, some EAAB officials in confidence admitted that many certificates have not been issued timeously (Incidentally, sometime last year the EAAB acknowledged having 80 000 queries logged … from the holders of 51 000 FFCs.)

The “no estate agent who is fully compliant and has paid all due monies WILL (Le Roux’s emphasis) be denied an FFC” in Ms Mohlala’s statement is telling in that it is an admittance, rightly so, that the issuing of certificates to the compliant agents is a work in progress, even this late.

No apology is offered to thousands who had to wait well into the new year for a licence to trade and to those who are still waiting for their FFCs (and possibly forfeiting indeterminable amounts in commission).

No apology is offered for the inconceivable lack of response in many cases and the vast number of errors made.

The claim “we have done an exceptional job” is not based on fact. One is tempted to find it outrageous. It is not a feat or achievement to issue 33 165 certificates by 17 January (instead of 31 December). It is a disgrace to leave even one agent without the right to earn a living for any period of time, never mind doing that to thousands.

This would be like a father, with the ways and means to feed all five of his children, who feeds only three or four and leaves the other starving yet boasts about being an exemplary parent!

The issuing of FFCs to compliant applicants is possibly the most standard, repetitious task of the EAAB, and the most important.

It remains astounding that a body like the EAAB, having issued certificates annually for more than 40 years can still not get it right – especially keeping in mind its revenue of R220 million last year.

The EAAB has underperformed in its most important, basic regulatory obligation and even if excuses/apologies were to be offered, it would be hard to condone. It might have been acceptable in year one, not in year 43 and not with such a budget.

Showing 22 comments
  • Johan Meyer

    One of my agents has only just received her FFC. The other one still has no FFC despite many enquiries and follow ups. Please Mrs CEO stop telling lies. If we as agents were dishonest we would have by now had our FFC’s removed or been at a disciplinary hearing. How do we then deal with a CEO that is dishonest???

    • Freddie

      The EAAB is a farce!! They change their song when queering a outstanding FFC. First they say it will be processed, then they come with excuses that the audit report is outstanding and the principal has to resubmit it again or they cannot find the FFC payment. It’s a dog show.

  • Eric Reurts

    On March 27 2019 I received a letter from EAAB accounts department that ther was a double payment on my 2019 FFC and that the credit balance would be applied to my 2020 FFC unless I requested a refund.
    To date still NO FFC. Phoned logged query with EAAB accounts dept letter attached. Was informed I had to write to give them permission to do what they said they were going to do. Use the credit balance for my 2020 FFC.
    To date no response and no FFC

  • Sharon van Aarde

    Paid on 5 September for an FFC for one of my agents, still waiting

  • Ryno Brand

    Paid 18 Oct…. still waiting…..

  • Kirschka Connoway

    Most definitely a lie.
    8 queries, 17 emails, multiple phone calls being dropped or only getting “we are offline, phone later”. eaab@eaab.org.za, FFC Complaints [FFC.Complaints@eaab.org.za] also contacted without any feedback.
    Our firm’s certificate renewal cannot even be requested, because it says that we have already been supplied with one. If we open it, it is another agency’s certificate location 500km from here that has no relation to us whatsoever.

  • Sue Burczak

    I have been an agent for nearly four years and all my info is exactly the same. I paid my subs in August and I have not received my FFC for 2020. I have phoned, emailed, logged about 6 queries?? Now they are offline.

  • Peter Blignaut

    I was issued my certificate on about 20 December but still in the wrong company’s name. I started trying to get my certificate at the beginning of August with all information sent to them. Payments etc. I’ve given up on trying to get them to issue my FFC in the correct company’s name.

  • Jacques van Zyl

    Dear Mrs CEO. You undoubtedly have one of the most challenging jobs in a vibrant industry where so many people work hard to earn a living. I am currently blocked because of outstanding documentation from an agency that I assisted as principal until Feb 2019. Since then I have no longer been their principal. After numerous phone calls, queries and emails nothing was done to unblock our agency. We paid our FFC renewal fee timeously and our agency is 100% compliable. But we’re still blocked and no FFC. This is really a tragic situation.

  • Michelle

    The EAAB has gone so far as to admit that payment for one of our agents was received and paid on time but has been promising to issue it within 7 days for the last two months. The FFC is still not issued and there is no way to speak to someone about this. Not even an email. We call every few days and get hold for up to an hour just to be told the same line. #moedeloos

  • Mike Spencer

    They are worse than pathetic. I received one reply after four times emailing them.That reply was to tell me the number was wrong and had one number missing. I sent back a copy of last years certificate with their number on it proving that the number was right. I email them every few days -only one reply on four queries!

    Last year I drove from Bloemfontein to their offices to find out why my certificate was not issued. There was one other enquiring person in their palatial offices. It took me two hours to find out why my certificate had not been issued. The company had breached an income level and we had to pay a higher fee. So from October 2018 to February 2019 nobody bothered to tell us/or could tell us when we phoned and emailed! I am not going to spend a full day and drive 750 km to run around to sort their problems out this year. I have been in the real estate industry since before there was an EAAB. I have still not received my principal’s certificate for one of my companies for 2019 – no correspondence or reason given. I have been a principal of that company since 1987!

    Interestingly, when reporting estate agencies that have been in existence for 10 years that have never registered with the EAAB – who when we have taken over body corporates we find that they have stolen money from owners and reported it with copies of the audit report…..Snnnnnnoooooozzzzzz…….Nothing.

    The industry would be far better off without an EAAB at all! It is a nightmare of red tape to even register a new intern (one has been trying for four months). No EAAB would result in far more rapid transformation of the industry and the building industry would get a boost.

    Fire the lot.

  • Dewald

    I’ve paid on the 10th of October, sent multiple follow-up emails with proof of payment as an asked extra. Emailed the EAAB again on 22 January and got a reply that they understand my frustration and that my FFC will be issued soon. It’s almost the end of January and my FFC is still not issued .

  • Meuriel Watcham. I'd 52062000590855

    Hi I have been trying to get myself unblocked for the last year. I was blocked because I have been out of the country for a year in 2015 and 2016. I have paid all monies due, have also paid for my FFC 2020. Since the beginning of the year I have been trying to get help, nothing … sitting and holding on for hours. I need to work … how can I work if I have no FFC? PLEASE I NEED HELP DESPERATELY.

  • Barbara Grobbelaar

    Good for you Mike, if one is incompetent, find a replacement. The Republic is full to overflowing with unemployed amongst whom I am sure there are some pretty competent people. I also have been trying to register an intern, numerous calls, logging of complaints with no success. Two outstanding FFCs paid in October for compliant agents, still outstanding. The logged queries were referred on 9 December and that is where they ended. My one agent, having tried for 5 months to be registered as a principal, had to obtain assistance from a gentleman in Johannesburg whom she had to pay R450 and who was able to obtain her FFC within a one day visit to the EAAB office.
    Needless to say, she gave up trying to be registered as a principal and just wanted to remain legal. I suppose R450 is cheap in comparison to a day or more away from your office as well as the travelling expenses. Hip Hip Hooray for the EAAB and the excellent service we receive!!!!

  • Baruch

    Last year they issued me with 2019 FFC only in mid-February, despite I’ve paid my FFC in July
    This year still waiting despite I’ve paid on 20th October 2019

  • Khehla

    I can’t do my job properly due to my FFC that I have already paid. Some of the centres block my tag as my FFC had expired.

    I think it is the time now to mobolise all the agents who didn’t receive their FFC to set up date and drive to the EAAB’s office and toyi-toyi in front of their office.

  • Mike Caradoc-Davies

    My CPD payment for 2019 has not been allocated and my portal is blocked. This is in spite of correspondence from Mr Maffa thanking me for my payment of a R1,000 fine and assuring me that my portal is now unblocked. Attempts to try to get the portal unblocked so I can complete the 2019 CPD has proved fruitless.
    I paid for my 2020 FFC way before the 31st of October 2019. So far I have heard nothing from the EAAB. Tried phoning the call centre but was kept waiting on the line for 28 minutes then cut off.
    From what I perceive, the EAAB is just another quasi-government institution supplying “jobs for pals”. They certainly don’t serve any purpose in assisting estate agents or being an effective watchdog of the industry.
    If someone has any ideas on how to get an FFC for 2020 please send me a mail.
    Even if the CEO of the EAAB thinks they have done an “exceptional job” I still don’t have the piece of paper that allows me to legally operate as an estate agent!!

  • Geoff Stroebel

    My FFC’s were only issued on 16 January and I paid on 27 October. One of my agents is STILL awaiting his FFC. No one EVER responds to online queries. All you ever get is an automated response. Quite pathetic.

  • Winston

    Good morning I have just attempted to call the EAAB in connection with the non-receipt f my FFC although I paid over the money in late November…..the.answering machine told me that there were 14 calls on the line AND THAT I WOULD BE ATTENDED TO IN 3 MINUTES… THREE MINUTES IS BEING EXTENDED TO 33 MINUTES NOW AND COUNTING …

  • Jane Ray

    Just call and speak to Robbie Sham Real Estate , despite completing and doing all CPD cycles, paying hefty penalties for “late submissions”, sending numerous e-mails, phone calls, uploads onto MyEAAB and MyCPD – NOTHING GETS DONE. Try calling for “legal” division – cannot get past the incompetent switchboard operators. IS THIS COMPETENCE??? I think not
    Jane Ray – 079 184 4024

  • Ranjani Ekanayake

    I paid my FFC fee on 2nd Oct 2019.

    Just before their closing for Dec holidays – I checked- No FFC.
    I logged a query on 19 Dec 19.
    Followed upon Jan 03rd or 04th 2020.

    They could not trace the payment and I sent proof immediately.
    Finally they allocated the payment and requested generation of FFC.
    THIS WAS 03rd or 04th Jan 2020. Still no FFC.
    Every week I call them – wasting a good couple of hours.

    All I hear is that they have forwarded it to FFC section it would be issued soon.

    Still no sign of the FFC .
    I know I am fully compliant in every respect.

    I am at a total loss as to the next step.

  • Johan Scott

    There are two words that made America the greatest nation on earth….”You’re Fired!”
    Perhaps we should try that here and the EAAB would be a good place to start!

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