Where is Ms Mohlala?

Where is Ms Mohlala?

MAIN IMAGE: Jan le Roux, chief executive Rebosa

The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) CEO Mamodupi Mohlala has been very quiet during the corona virus crisis so far despite desperate cries from estate agents that the regulator assists in some way to bring financial relief to the embattled real estate sector. Rebosa chief executive Jan le Roux asks why in this open letter sent out this week.

Dear Ms Mohlala

In the weeks prior to the lockdown you were quoted in the press repeatedly with one radio and TV interview followed by another.  All this publicity focused on various initiatives seemingly in the pipeline.

Since the lockdown began there has been total silence, not a word from you or the EAAB.

The news cycle has been dominated by economic relief packages, funding and accommodations of all kinds by most everyone to assist South Africans in surviving these trying times. Business, government departments, civil society, banks – you name it, all came forward with something. Everyone rallied together to provide some form of support to soften the economic blow  – some landlords reduced rent, employees and government officials accepted reduced salaries.

Ubuntu reigns everywhere bar the real estate industry that you regulate.

The EAAB and you are missing in action – correction, in April threatening letters of demand claiming arrears due went out to hundreds of agencies.  No invoices were sent, no explanation given except to advise agents that their FFC’s were in danger if payments were not made.  Somehow time was found to do this during the lockdown.  How can this be a priority given the circumstances?  We were advised that it is normal procedure after due date for audit reports but very few agencies have a 30 November year-end.  Incidentally, many of these notices were issued in respect of dormant companies et cetera.  Can we assume that the IT system is yet again to be blamed?  Does it act on it’s own volition?

We were inundated with pleas for assistance.  There were suggestions to address the challenges, demands to be assisted by using funds from the Fidelity Fund.  We explained on your behalf that the latter is not legally possible.  Did you not receive emails from stressed agents?  Did it not occur to you that some communication to the industry would be helpful?

You were approached to come to the assistance of the industry with a number of very achievable and practical solutions (other entities came up with their own initiatives!):

  • Audit reports – On 30 March we asked the EAAB to not immediately prosecute agencies should audit reports not be submitted timeously on 30 June, as many agents are likely to miss this deadline because of the lockdown.  You responded and promised to approach the Board and revert.  No response has been forthcoming as yet.  Agents are concerned.
  • Submission to government – On 1 April we asked that the EAAB support an industry approach to Minister Patel to allow estate agents operate under strict conditions.  On 7 April you responded that you would approach the Board and revert.  Not a word since.
  • Waive CPD fees – The EAAB was asked to waive CPD fees for 2020, which it has authority to do. No response as yet.
  • Payment holidays – The EAAB was asked for a payment holiday of penalties and such.  No response as yet.

It appears that the Department of Human Settlements, “has received a number of queries related to the matter of commencement of operations of property practitioners more specifically estate agents as well as protocols related to property transactions for the buying and selling of property” and has “ requested that you please provide the Department with an overview of any interventions that may be required of the Department to provide assistance in the resolution or clarifications required on the matter of commencement of sector operations“.

Can it be possible that this information had to be requested from you when it could have been communicated on our behalf in March – should you have had the industry’s best interests at heart?

On issues unrelated to urgent lockdown relief but extremely important because of the risk it poses is our question on 1 April as to the continuation of professional indemnity insurance.  The industry is under the impression that this is in existence because of a prior announcement by the EAAB with nothing to the contrary having been communicated since.  You responded “I confirm we are working on this matter and will respond soon” on 7 April.  Nothing since. Do you not know if you have cancelled this policy? Can you not determine in one month if you did?  What would happen if a claim arose today, keeping in mind that the cover was for R1,000,000?

We advised you on numerous occasions that one entity after the other are offering their services to estate agents to obtain FCCs etc from the EAAB, ostensibly because of lack of service delivery – why else would they offer the service and be able to charge for it?  We asked for your opinion on this matter as we believe it reflects badly on the EAAB – no response has been forthcoming.

The EAAB closed it’s offices on 13 March, 2 weeks prior to the lockdown.  Eight weeks later you mention a further two weeks to arrange for the EAAB to become operational remotely?  We don’t understand.

Ms Mohlala, we believe you are a resourceful, formidable woman with a masterful approach to public relations.

When you assumed office, you publicly shared how you were going to pursue a transformation agenda, adopt a stakeholder-centric approach and ensure a strong future for the EAAB including re-engineering the IT system and putting a number of procedures in place to better service stakeholders.

Where are you?

Not one communication of support or even sympathy for the industry?

Do you have an inkling what the industry is going through?

The industry is under threat.

Best regards

Jan le Roux

Showing 76 comments
  • Trevor Harris
    Reply

    The whole EAAB staff are most probably paid in full each month and are treating the lockdown as a paid holiday, why should they care !

    All agents are suffering financially, and I am sure many will not be able to or will have had to find alternative work to financially survive, after all, we don’t have a big daddy [read government] to fall back on for relief.

  • Johan Scheppel
    Reply

    At last some action, thank you Mr Le Roux.
    We are behind you 100 %

    • Cinette du Toit
      Reply

      Thank you! At last the truth. Please let us set up a private EAAB. I am tired of goverment organisations taking our well earned money. Earning big salaries without delivering service.
      Let’s withold all future payments!

  • Deon de Swardt
    Reply

    Dankie Jan, hopelik kry ons goeie reaksie.

  • lindsay daniel
    Reply

    The EAAB should be disbanded. They serve no purpose. The agents within our borders should boycott them and form a body that is run by existing agents for the protection of existing agents. No interference from government.

    • Rachel Fourie
      Reply

      I’ll support any UNION that is formed for estate agents. It may be one way to force the EAAB to do what they are paid to do.

  • D. Mathieson
    Reply

    Well said.

    • kobus breytenbach
      Reply

      I agree!!!!!

    • Ray Donnelly
      Reply

      Yes…..Missing In Action!
      NEVER ANY SUPPORT FOR ESTATE AGENTS but NEVER LACKING IN DEMANDS… WITH A PRICE TAG TO THOSE DEMANDS. EAAB seems to be under the misconception that Estate Agents are Rolling in Money and that they have a mandate to Bleed them Dry!
      Maybe, through their inaction, they are finally going to succeed😡🤬

    • Johann van Niekerk
      Reply

      I see Bennie received a letter of demand for R6.30. I received one for R5.73. I think it is a scam. I am fully paid up and in receipt of my FFC’s. Thank you mr Jan le Roux for your efforts. I think most of us fully endorse what you have written!

      • Harry
        Reply

        Intern Agent fees are R583.00 – if paid short you need to pay balance to EAAB before FFC will be issued/

    • J. Kaoma
      Reply

      Very much on point, what a bunch of nonsense with the EAAB. Estate agencies and agents get nothing out of this entity. They want everything out of the agencies and agents monetary wise. Shame on you, why have such an entity if it has nothing to offer? It’s a waste of time and our hard-earned resources. It’s time that this entity got scrapped. Here we are suffering on our own with our families with no help from this entity that gets our hard-earned cash every year.

  • Sharele L Seward
    Reply

    The EAAB has not provided stay at home EAAB employees with the ability to respond to our calls, order, payments, etc. Auditors cannot register, as EAAB is closed for business. No improvements in the EAAB systems. In fact no excuse!

  • Gareth
    Reply

    Thank you Jan for your ongoing support – Let us know as and when the EAAB break the silence!!
    Gareth

  • Michelle
    Reply

    Thank you Jan for voicing what so many agents have been thinking. It is shocking the total lack of support we’ve had since day 1 of this lockdown. EAAB are quick to squeal when their money is due, but slow to react when we need help.

  • F Sadie
    Reply

    I want to know where are the many so-called representative bodies that represent the real estate industry in these difficult times? I think it is easy to be formed and post in newsfeeds but with no support in these times. Writing letters to politicians will not solve the problem.

  • Penny Plougmann
    Reply

    No – she and the country’s Covid council does not have in inkling of what is going on. She is at home at full pay and the time off does not count as leave. The best position to be in – no work and full pay. I too, as an attorney, received a letter of demand for an FFC which I neither need nor want. No explanation received from my two emails. The shocking service continues. I noticed SARS expects a 30% drop in tax collection – make that 60% which will be more realistic. Landlords do not collect rental and are giving rebates – no income tax on that either.

  • Penny Plougmann
    Reply

    As at today, Thursday, 7 May 2020 the Cape Town deeds office is not open but the Master’s office is. We don’t know when they will open so it is impossible to plan anything. We as attorneys are at home at no pay and all our staff had to take annual leave during lockdown and be satisfied with a 60% cut in salaries. Go figure.

  • caroline
    Reply

    Oh my. So confident that the industry is being well protected with this incompetence at the helm.

  • Neels Potgieter
    Reply

    Support you 100%. Am one of those who received a final demand letter for R428. Apparently outstanding since 2018 but all of my 45 agents have 2020 FFCs issued.

  • Sharon
    Reply

    Thank you very well written urgent plea.

  • Rainer Stenzhorn
    Reply

    I salute you on this open and public approach. It is about time that our industry finds new ways to commence business in the future. The EAAB is like Covid-19. It is a threat to the health of our property business environment and it needs to be eliminated, as it has shown to be of no real benefit to the real estate industry.

    • Penelope Gurney
      Reply

      I agree…and let’s face it, even at the best of times, the EAAB is almost always “missing in action” when you need them!

  • Remo
    Reply

    I think you should get a petition going to have this incompetent overpaid useless CEO removed permanently!!!

  • Pierre van Eeden
    Reply

    Thank you for writing this letter on behalf of the industry.

  • Kevin Layden
    Reply

    They are simply pathetic, as long as they receive their monthly salary they could not give a damn about the industry or the people who keep them employed.

  • Pasi
    Reply

    That is so true, we are being ignored by our board nor permitted to do what we can as per the government restrictions. How can we go and sort a burst pipe if you do not have a permit?

  • Lorraine van Aswegen
    Reply

    Thank you Jan for being there for our agents. We can ALWAYS rely on you.

    Seing that we are not able to start working yet, a lot of people are relying on us to be selling their properties.

    Please let us property professionals go back to work. We will take care not to expose our clients to any harm. We can lay down rules how to go about showing a property safely.

    Please let us back to work.

  • Janene
    Reply

    Thanks Rebosa!!!

  • Julia Goss
    Reply

    Thank you so much, Jan for voicing the frustration that we are all feeling. I only hope that the EAAB will reply to your letter.

  • Terence Hogben
    Reply

    Very well said, Rebosa and Jan le Roux do not get enough credit for all of the battles they fight on behalf of the Industry.

    • Wilna
      Reply

      I salute you. Well done. The services of the EAAB is non existing and we need to pay for this behaviour.

  • Fiona Crago
    Reply

    Well said Jan.
    This is unacceptable and needs to be addressed urgently…

  • Marie Greyvenstein
    Reply

    Absolutely true. Thanks to Rebossa something might be done. We are one of the agencies that received a final reminder to pay within 10 days?

  • Crista Bennett
    Reply

    I would imagine the lack of communication has a lot to do with three possibilities, not in order of importance.
    1. She simply does not know what to say and has no idea what revenue goes through the government coffers.
    2. The industry (Property Practitioners) are in the main white South African’s so there is really no need for urgency, as proven again and again and again.
    3. Waiting for the Deeds Office to catch up with the back-log, and if they are anything like the EAAB that will take a long time.

    OR maybe she is taking the “No News Is Good News” approach!!!

    • Harry
      Reply

      Agree with you!

      I hear beauty salons & hairdresser will be allowed to work next week.

      • Helene Meissenheimer
        Reply

        Not true Harry, beauty salons and hairdressers may sell beauty products, but treatments not allowed (yet).

  • Esmé Hancke
    Reply

    Jan, thank you for your letter to the CEO of the Estate Board and for your endeavors so far. It is really pathetic that you have to ask for response on previous requests. We pay our FFC and CPD fees yearly. The EAAB is supposed to assist us in general and more specific in trying times, such as the present. Given the no response one can question the need for the existence of the EAAB. They are playing absolutely no role in stating our plight to the relevant government department and assisting a bleeding industry.

  • Peet Prinsloo
    Reply

    I think this is well said. I would like to know how I can submit my logbook.
    Because this is keeping me now behind.

  • Fatima
    Reply

    This approach is long overdue. The Board just makes demands on agents and we must just swallow the bitter pill. Their bullying and dictatorship must come to an end.

  • Hayley
    Reply

    Very well said, they know even when we are allowed back to work it will still take months before you get your commission. Thank you Rebosa and Jan le Roux for fighting on our behalf

  • Dean Ferreira
    Reply

    Time to mobilize and begin our own regulator!

  • Riaan van Deventer
    Reply

    Can we get this letter sent directly to the DG and Min Sisulu please Jan?

  • KR Leahy
    Reply

    Still waiting on reply from EAAB since 2018 .In my opinion they add little or no value.

  • RALPH PANDOY
    Reply

    it is really a sad time for the industry. The lack of a response is deplorable. This is the institution that guides us estate agents. shame on you. Get your house in order and don’t throw stones to people who live in glass houses

  • seamus connell
    Reply

    Well done Jan Le Roux and Rebosa
    Perhaps Rebosa/ Institute of Estate Agents and the recently established property forum should be the new “EAAB”

  • Tracey Johnson
    Reply

    Brilliant. Thank you Rebosa. May I request we investigate section 12B-1b of the EAAB act with regards to the fund.
    In terms of their 2018/2019 there was close on R600 million in various call accounts.

  • Bennie
    Reply

    Well said!! send me a letter of demand for R6 .30.Legal action will be taken if not paid!!No invoice!! Lots of not registered agent selling houses but that ok!!

  • Rajen Chetty
    Reply

    Well said.
    Does government not realize that not only non-Africans are estate agents but that there are many African agents out there struggling to make ends meet.
    It is time for the EAAB to stand up and be counted and don’t hide behind their friends in government.

  • c
    Reply

    I salute you for taking up this important issue with the EAAB.
    But sadly the EAAB currently is too busy sending out letters during lockdown level 5 for so called “outstanding” amounts. Fifteen minutes later a poorly worded letter of demand also showed up issued by a second person.

    I immediately phoned the EAAB but nobody answered the phone. I then check their website to confirm my belief that they are closed. The website states that they will reopen after the lockdown. I therefore immediately suspect a scam as I know I have no outstanding debts with the EAAB. After sending an e-mail to an e-mail address found on the website I was informed that the finance department did send out letters for outstanding debits. I thus took it up with the person who issued the letter of demand.

    Both the letter and the letter of demand gave me 10 days to pay the outstanding amount plus a threat of legal action and suspending my certificate to prevent me from earning income. No invoice was attached or previously received for any outstanding amount I owed to the EAAB. On enquiry I was send an invoice dated 5 July 2019 with a debit for interest earned on my trust account whilst my lease agreements specifically specifies that all interest accrues to the tenants benefit. Interest thus is written back on a monthly basis to my tenants. This is in line with the Housing Act.
    As mentioned the invoice was never received by me and no questions were asked since my audit report was filed in 2019 till the letter and letter of demand was received. They just immediately start issuing threats. One question on e-mail or telephone could resolve the issue.
    Furthermore, the staff in the EAAB should know it is lockdown and that estate agents are not allowed to work leaving us without income but still they will issue threats against us without concern to agents’ well-being.

    To me this really is insensitive issuing threats where a phone call would do.

    This long story is just to show you they don’t have time to answer real important issues but they do have time to do unnecessary work which could be resolved by asking one simple question.

  • Ruth Mills
    Reply

    Thank you Mr le Roux

  • Lisa
    Reply

    I understand they made submissions under the newly formed National Property Practitioners Council https://www.property360.co.za/news/real-estate-industry-faces-disaster-asks-to-be-opened-up-to-work-47285531

  • Rob Fourie
    Reply

    I’m sure the EAAB staff are still on full salaries !!!!

  • Serame
    Reply

    You’ve said a mouthful and we appreciate your effort Mr Leroux..We have been bleeding from day 1 of the lockdown without any relief measures for property practioners..We pay compulsory subscription fees,taxes etc but we are not factored in any of the covid-19 relief systems..Other industry regulatory bodies are doing their best to defend their stakeholders…Eaab is a disgrace and a liability to the trade

    • Auckland Notshoba
      Reply

      This board is useless and clueless
      They only push their own agenda
      While we are the ones paying subscription
      The question I have is how do we kick them and vote in people who have interest of the agents and industry at large to lead us. Enough of this power hungry and useless board

  • Robyn
    Reply

    Thanks Rebosa, you have said it all and the silence from the EAAB is deafening!!!!
    We pay when we are told to, we comply when we are told to and the EAAB disappear when things get tough. The whole board needs to be dissolved and new members who actually know what they are doing should be in charge.

  • Brendon Funnell
    Reply

    It’s time for a UNION created from within the industry,
    Those without income streams other than selling and renting property, and those who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is because their livelihoods depend on it.

    A true representation of real Estate Agents, an entity that speaks to the EAAB in their own language and gets answers, and if it doesn’t work they take united action.

    This fragmented approach of the representative bodies across the sector, from time to time, is becoming tiresome. We heard of the NPPC only once and *poof*…

    Thanks Jan & Rebosa for writing yet another email, but until Real Estate gets REAL under one united banner, Ms Mohlala isn’t battering an eyelid, just as your article points out.

    Look forward to the next one, and the one after that and then the next one… All the while agents starve.

  • Pierre Vermeulen
    Reply

    There are cars being sold for more than many immovable properties. Why regulate the property market qualification? To buy a vehicle or service there is no qualification regulation. This property market is run by unnecessary greed and jealously by the franchised monopoly of the property market. Please I would like to buy a Ferrari but what government qualification do you have?

    And then you have an estate agency board that does not reply to their mails unless it is a threatening letter from an attorney.

    The EAAB has become a useless money making racket. Try and phone them and see if you can get a sensible answer from them. I sponsor the Ferrari.

  • Kay Thompson
    Reply

    But I’m sure she is still being paid! What a lovely life!

  • Manoj
    Reply

    Well said. The EAAB has for a long time dictated to us agents. It’s time to form a union and I can guarantee everyone, only then will they listen. I have for the last year asked agents to join me as I am forming a union. If anyone is interested please email me.

  • Gail
    Reply

    Thank you for this and all that you do for our industry, something needs to be done!

    • Ria Leonhardt
      Reply

      After numerous calls, reference numbers and full payment with a penalty included, my FFC for 2020 have still not been issued. It is apparently lying in a suspense account in the finance department and somebody or anybody in this department needs to allocate it, before somebody or anybody can issue my FFC certificate for 2020! It is again time to buy the renewal for 2021. Now they don’t answer a call, I presume they are still on “lockdown”. What to do??

  • Hennie
    Reply

    Regarding the submission of audit reports I received the following response from the EAAB on 7 May 2020: “Good day Hennie, please note that the audit deadline is set down in the Act by parliament and the Board has no authority to extend this. The Board is, however, considering the waiving of penalties for late submission within a specified period and we are awaiting direction. I suggest that agents send any motivations in this regard to the EAAB for submission to the Board. Regards, Debra Vial (Claims and Disqualifications Manager: EAAB).
    Ms Vial added that requests for late submissions must by accompanied by valid reasons. She said a letter from my auditor “explaining the possible reasons for late submission will help a long way to invite a favourable decision from the BOARD”.
    Finally, I was informed that an application for a late submission is not an exemption from submitting audit reports.

    Hennie Combrinck

  • Michelle
    Reply

    Thank you Jan Le Roux and REBOSA. Long overdue, it is time for the EAAB to close their doors. There is absolutely no value added to the real estate business owners and it is in fact counter productive to be “regulated” by a board that has no ability to regulate their own performance. The EAAB costs the business owners money that we can ill afford to pay at this stage and that frankly they do not deserve to earn!

  • Jan Minnie
    Reply

    Yes, let’s form a union. Please explain how, other than getting thousands of agents to join, this will make any difference.
    Questions:
    1. Could we all go on strike?
    2. What would this achieve?
    3. How would we do anything different to REBOSA?

    Relief:
    1.If we could somehow legally withhold transfer fees without jeopardizing a sale we would have the necessary power for government to hear us!!!
    2. Get the legal profession to support us in allowing sales to continue, commissions to be paid, even if we have NOT paid our fees to the EAAB, but we can prove we are compliant.

  • Andre Potgieter
    Reply

    Thank you Jan for being a voice.

    Perhaps it is time to build a board that really looks out for the interest of agents and the protection of the public correctly.

    EAAB’s days should be numbered. It is merely a money-hungry institution.

  • Bruce Campbell
    Reply

    I commend Jan Le Roux and all the other stakeholders including the newly formulated NPPC for their continuous efforts in trying to convince the government to open up real estate in level 4 of this unfortunate lockdown. Our industry is under severe financial pressure, our agents are in dire straits financially, and many other related businesses such as conveyancers, and not forgetting many sellers, are also hugely affected.
    I cannot comprehend how the selling of motor vehicles can be allowed ahead of selling of property, and that garden services is allowed before real estate. My agency manages over 700 rental properties and about 140 body corporates around our city. We have had endless issues trying to communicate with owners and tenants from our homes regarding payment and non-payment of rentals, services accounts, levy payments, insurance claims and related issues. Our government also needs to understand that in real estate we don’t only sell property, there is far more to our industry than just that. I believe that it is time for them to allow us to return to work under certain restrictions that have already been suggested by our representative bodies, otherwise our industry and many businesses will eventually be forced to close down, resulting in a further loss of jobs.

  • Sharon
    Reply

    Well said Jan Le Roux. Thanks a stack to you and Rebosa for always putting your best foot forward to fight for the rights of all of us in the real estate industry.

  • Hans Snyman
    Reply

    I believe it is time for a vote of no confidence and a motion to dissolve the EAAB.

  • MARIUS ODENDAAL
    Reply

    WELL SAID, I AGREE IT IS TIME TO FORM A UNION OF UNITY. THERE ARE ENOUGH AGENTS WITH LEGAL BACKGROUND TO STEER THIS PHASE OF TRANSFORMATION WITHIN THE PROPERTY INDUSTRY. FOR TOO LONG HAVE WE BEEN THE PAWNS BEING MOVED AROUND AT WILL BY THE EAAB AND OTHERS.

  • Rick Spencer
    Reply

    The EAAB has been useless for many years. It is a corrupt BEE organisation, fleecing money from agents and agencies, who get little or no support from it. From the inept top to the plump and lazy bottom, they know SFA about the industry and couldn’t give hoot about the very people who pay their fat salaries, ie the good people working hard in the real estate sector. Why should we kowtow to them?

  • Inette Steyn
    Reply

    Excellent questions indeed!

  • Inette Steyn
    Reply

    Another question may be how the EAAB has invested the millions received from commission earners over the years to benefit the industry, since their salaries and overheads are presumably paid for by government?

  • Inette Steyn
    Reply

    My personal most pressing question: Why do estate agents have all the burdens of “professionals” (like cpd) but none of the privileges? “Other” professions were allowed to start working at level 4. Estate agents are currently grouped with live out domestic workers on level 2…

  • Ken Clarke
    Reply

    Why must we put up with this rank inefficiency and gross corruption?
    Let’s just not pay…

  • Netsie
    Reply

    Has there been any response from the EAAB or government? Moving companies (with a crew of workers touching everything) can work now…. After a threat from one to go to court. Is no estate agency strong enough to make things happen?

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