Mr Le Roux – I miss you too

Mr Le Roux – I miss you too

The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) CEO Mamodupi Mohlala denies allegations that she as CEO of the regulator has been ‘absent’ during the coronavirus crisis. “The EAAB has not only been hard at work but has been very responsive and proactive on the COVID-19 pandemic to the extent that management is empowered to respond,” she writes this week in response to Jan le Roux, CE of Rebosa.

Dear Mr Le Roux, I acknowledge receipt of your open letter with the warmth and affection that it was written with. I firstly wish to state that the feeling is mutual, I miss you too. However, most important, I miss the life I had before COVID-19 came along. I, however, hope you appreciate that I MAMODUPI MOHLALA no matter how deluded I may be with my illusions of grandeur am neither the author of Covid-19 nor the regulations that have been promulgated by the State in response thereto. I, like everyone else, have been thrust into the free fall of this modern day plague called the coronavirus or the COVID-19 pandemic. No one has been spared. We are coping the best way we can, to the best of our professional capability.

Mr. Le Roux, now that the nice and polite exchanges are out of the way let us now deal with the facts.

First and foremost Mr Le Roux, all correspondence that was forwarded to the EAAB under the auspices of Rebosa was all responded to by me. I believe that at times you have gone so far as to intimate that you are impressed at the speed with which we have responded to your correspondence. Should you require copies of the correspondence where you make such an assertion, I am more than willing to make it available.

Secondly, the letters that you addressed to the EAAB under the auspices of the newly-formed entity, namely the NPPC, were addressed to the Chairperson of the Board and not to me as the CEO. It would therefore have been very rude of me to impose a response where correspondence is not addressed to me, especially when all protocol has been observed. Further, I believe in response thereto the Chairperson of the Board did indeed liaise with your good self and this is acknowledged in a letter by yourself addressed to the Chair. I am also informed that the Chair has since responded to the letter sent by the NPPC.

Thirdly, and most importantly, you argue that all your pleas and those of the industry have fallen on deaf ears. I do not believe that this is factually correct. The EAAB has not only been hard at work but has been very responsive and proactive on the COVID-19 pandemic to the extent that management is empowered to respond. Specifically I invite you Mr Le Roux to have a look at our website that has had up-to-date reports on the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the EAAB and its employees on the one hand and how we intended to deal with industry at large on the other. The notices referred to were placed on the EAAB website days before the national lockdown. I therefore once again, as I have before, urge you to be true to the facts and the efficiencies that the EAAB and its staff has exhibited under these very trying times.

INDUSTRY CATEGORISATION – ELEVATION FROM LEVEL 2 TO LEVEL 4

I wish to emphasize that as Mamodupi Mohlala, in my personal capacity, I support in the strongest of terms the drive and appeal to have the real estate sector classification moved from a Level 2 to a Level 4 categorization. However, such support must be understood in the context that human life and safety supersede all else and must be guarded without apology or compromise. Further, as stated, we as management do not work in isolation we work under the supervision of a Board as the accounting authority. This submission is made subject to the Board echoing the same sentiment. Most importantly, I wish to emphasis that the final decision is that of the Minister of Human Settlements and her colleagues working under the auspices of a ministerial committee tasked with the responsibility to respond to COVID-19 as chaired by his Excellency the President Cyril Ramaphosa.

I understand your frustrations and anxious audience whose anxiety and bottomline continues to thin every day, every hour, every minute. However, I think it is most unfair to then lay your frustrations at my doorstep as the CEO of EAAB when I am as powerless as you yourself are in this matter. Please Mr Le Roux, with all due respect, do not target the weakest link in the value chain because this could be perceived as an attempt at scoring points or even playing to the gallery. We are all on the same team and need to work together to achieve a common purpose not against each other.

REGULATION COMMENT PROCESS

There was an industry request for an extension of the public comment period in relation to regulations proposed by the Department of Human Settlements with respect to the implementation of the Property Practitioners Act. When called upon, the EAAB through myself (directly) not only promptly interacted with the DHS for an extension, but also promptly communicated the extension once granted.

Now Mr Le Roux does this amount to one missing in action? I think the facts point to the contrary to anyone looking on, whether objectively or not.

FIDELITY FUND CERTIFICATES AND INDUSTRY QUERIES

We have at all times, even under lockdown, continued to deliver in terms of our mandate. We have remotely continued to work. We have not only continued to issue Fidelity Fund Certificates (FFCs), but we have to the best of our ability continued to respond to queries by industry. We continue to painstakingly use technology for all our interactions, alien and difficult as it maybe. You, Mr Le Roux, may not be aware that we have a dedicated team of professionals who work tirelessly in the background that is marshaled, stewarded and lead by yours truly. We have again, I repeat, continued to issue FFCs and as recent as last week we provided a report on all your FFC queries to the two ladies at Rebosa. Further, even the Board members that represent IEASA submitted queries and those were addressed. We have also continued to field queries and even went so far as to have zoom conference calls with industry groups such as the NPF team and the PPI teams.

The Board of EAAB can give testimony that we as management have presented them with daily reports prepared by the managers and executives on the daily activities that are being undertaken by the staff of EAAB. When the lockdown was extended and we realized that the real estate sector does not fall under Level 4 we made a determination that we will from now on work on hundred per cent capacity and not be restricted only to the essential aspect of the business as was the case under Level 5 of the lockdown. This again was communicated to the industry by putting notices on our website and sending out bulk emails to our members.

Mr Le Roux, if this is perceived as silence or missing in action, I think you really need to reconsider your perception. We have been hard at work within the confines of the COVID-19 regulations of maintaining a safe social distance and with the required protective masks and gloves. WE HAVE MADE SURE THAT WE KEEP OUR GLOVES ON AND HAVE NOT TAKEN THEM OFF, which is a lot less than I can say for many others. But we understand these are trying times for all of us.

CONTINOUS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (CPD)

As I stated previously, the EAAB has never sat back and just watched the industry, we continue to serve during these difficult economic times. We have done all in our power to bring to bear the limited relief that is within our power to address. Please be mindful that the control of the economy does not lie with the EAAB, but with the ministers in cabinet, who are in charge of the economic cluster and includes our Honorable Minister Sisulu. We can, however, urge you Mr Le Roux to be true to the facts because long prior to your intervention herein we have already given the industry the following concessions:

  • Deferment and waiver of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) fees

The EAAB, as far back as March 2020, ascended to the industry request in terms of which industry initially requested a deferment with respect to the date of payment of the CPD fees. This was put on our website as far back as 16 March 2020. If this is not a direct response from the EAAB to a request from the industry Mr Le Roux, I do not know what it is you consider to be a response.

In further correspondence the industry proposed that all CPD fees for 2020 be waived on the basis that agents will not earn an income for most of the 2020 financial year. The Board has forwarded a recommendation for the Honourable Minister’s consideration that will strike a balance between addressing the industry request and continued sustainability of the entity.

At this point I wish to emphasize that CPD is one of the biggest income streams of the EAAB, but, however, because we realise the dire economic and financial situation that the real estate sector finds itself in, the Board and management of the EAAB has felt it prudent to initially delay the payment but more recently has made a decision to further engage with the Minister on the industry request for deferment of CPD in order to give the much needed relief to the industry. We realize that we regulate an industry of which we do not do so in isolation but need to be responsive to the needs of the sector.

Further, to show that we are always responsive to the needs of the sector, we have resolved that even under these trying circumstances the EAAB will make sure that we not only continue to deliver in terms of CPD but also the PDE 4 and 5 remotely. We will continue to empower our sector with all the knowledge and tools of the trade that are required.

OTHER REQUESTS

Last but not least, the eight points we make is that the other requests that the industry presented to the Chair of the Board have been addressed at a meeting held by a sub-committee of the Board on 08 May 2020 and the resolution with respect thereto are as follows:

  • Concession in respect of late audit report submissions

The sector requested that the deadline for submission of audit reports be moved to 30 September 2020. The Board however does not have the powers to grant such a request as it is prescribed in the Estate Agents Affairs Act. However, we will not completely fail to attend to the request. The Board has submitted a proposal to the Executive Authority, which if granted will enable us to make an announcement to the industry.

Payment holiday for exam fees, fines and penalties

The sector requested the EAAB to announce a payment holiday until 28 February 2021 for all agents who are in arrears with payments, fines and/or penalties and all exam fees.

With respect to historical debt, we will not consider a payment holiday, however, we would consider a payment holiday on penalties on FFC renewals. However, given that FFC renewals are only due on 31st October 2020 and penalties only kick-in on 1st November, the Board will make a further determination on this issue at later dates.

  • Professional Indemnity Insurance

The sector requested that the Professional Indemnity Insurance be used to cover their operations during the lockdown. The Board noted that the Professional Indemnity Insurance was specifically set up to indemnify the public against negligent practices of estate agents and hence this insurance cannot be used for operational costs of estate agents.

We are mindful that the Covid-19 pandemic has created great uncertainty and financial pressure and as such we will have continued engagements with our stakeholders.

The coronavirus will be with us for some time. I therefore extend a gloved hand of comeradery and solidarity that we jointly, with the industry, navigate these uncertain waters and conserve our energy for a joint effort to improve the sector.

Let us build rather than pull apart and point fingers.

MY DOOR IS ALWAYS OPEN. FEEL FREE TO PHONE IF NEEDS BE.

Issued by the EAAB CEO Mamodupi Mohlala

Showing 31 comments
  • Francesca Beebe
    Reply

    Ms Mohlala has not addressed the fact that we are nearly halfway through the year and there are STILL no e-courses available for CPD. The lockdown would have been a perfect time for educators to record such material and CPD agents to complete the e-courses. How are we expected to complete the CPD year if there are no events due to lockdown but then no e-courses to make up for it?

  • Lynette Lusignan
    Reply

    Good day,
    I have not at any time, received any email or notification from the EAAB, on any of the above subjects discussed.
    Warm Regards
    Lynette Lusignan ( Membership no 0548152)
    Full Member of the EAAB

    • Marius Van der Bank
      Reply

      It is noticeable that no waifer as to CPD payment is made. We know full well who predominantly are full status agents and therefore liable paying for CPD. As if we “should have money readily available” to pay for it, even though we can not earn. Same old same, it perceived to be a “white industry” after all, we “feel” your BS madame.

  • Chrissie Hammer
    Reply

    Thank you for your responce. I am frustrated as I paid my R2000 at the end of January when I got my CPD invoice. I tried to access my online tests over the coronovirus period and was told I have to pay. I sent emails to 2 email addresses on the EAAB website and they came back address unknown. Please may I have some help to resolve this, I would be very grateful, many thanks, Chrissie Hammer

  • Dennis
    Reply

    Good day

    I also paid in January for CPD, sent my proof of payment and even logged 2 calls with proof of payments. No response.

    The lock-down was an excellent time to do our CPD online.

    Can anybody assist in this poor delivery of service.

  • Audrey
    Reply

    Thank you Ms CEO Mohlala

    • Susanna
      Reply

      I also have paid the CPD fees and submitted POP but it still reflects as due on the agents portal. Are you going to refund us?

  • Linda Marais
    Reply

    Thank you for the update.

  • Elsabe Swanepoel
    Reply

    Good day,
    So I have paid my FFC in October 2019.
    I still have not received it.
    Nor another agent from our firm. It is nearly June 2020.
    And when I call the EAAB, I must keep the call for about 15 minutes. If I am lucky to be first in line, it is ONLY to hear that the EAAB is offline again.
    7 digit numbers
    Elsabe Elizebeth Swanepoel……….. 0231890
    Chris Swanepoel…………………. 1210823

  • PATIENCE BEN-MAZWI
    Reply

    All along as an estate agent paying for Continuous Professional Development, I categorized myself as rendering professional services. When Level 4 stipulated that business and professional services can resume, I was so sure that we are allowed to operate our businesses and observe Covid 19 safety regulations when we operate business in our offices and the agents who can work at home do that and minimize contact as much as possible. Google defines a real estate agent as a professional who assists in buying and selling of properties and has obtained a real estate license to do so (from ESTATE AGENCY AFFAIRS BOARD a regulatory body for estate agents). EAAB as the regulator receiving most of the income stream from CPD fees, should be capitalizing on that to ensure that we operate as professionals and earn income as the offices are paying salaries to the administrators and all other supporting staff members. The value chain of the estate agents include attorneys, municipalities, SARS and the Deeds Office who are all allowed to operate on level 4 and also receive the revenue through the transfers of properties sold by estate agents. All our efforts should be on these facts and not create a blame circus around role players. PLEASE ALLOW ESTATE AGENTS TO OPERATE ON LEVEL 4

  • Roslyn Chapman
    Reply

    I would like to suggest that the CPD events could have been done in the form of a Webinar during the past 7 weeks – time-saving and ‘social distancing’

    There are not even any events planned as yet when one goes onto the EAAB website – CPD dashboard. We still have to pay for CPD but nothing is offered!

  • leon jackson
    Reply

    Excellent Response ‘EAAB CEO Mamodupi Mohlala ‘ as a registered principal agent and active operator in the property sector i applaud your professional response. I have constantly perused the EAAB WEBSITE, and can attest to all of the points you have so professionally iterated upon. Yes it is certainly trying times for us all, no one person or entity is immune to the current catastrophic circumstances we find ourselves faced with.

    As a responsible citizen and operator in the property sector, as much as we are all faced with the financial constraints and economic backlash being unable to do business as usual, i do comprehend and agree with the measures put in place by our ‘Excellency Honorable President Cyril Ramaphosa’ under the advice of the Covid-19 Command Council in an effort to curb the spread of the Corona Virus.

    Furthermore i appreciate all the work,planning and effort that your team together with your leadership have gone through, to ensure the wheels of the property industry keeps on turning . Your consideration to accommodate, motivate and or provide extension relief on the submissions of the normal annual ‘CPD, AUDIT SUBMISSIONS AND FFC RENEWALS’ that we agents and principals are mandated to adhere too, relevant to our legal status in the industry is appreciated.

    As an independent operator with a small office, the current financial constrains are challenging. Prior to the ‘Corona Virus’ our markets were already flattened and running out of steam with the poor economic state of affairs in our country and high unemployment.

    However the hurdles and challenges i do believe that the tide will change, our current circumstances we find ourselves in will run its course and we will again rise and thrive. We will do this keeping in mind this pandemic that has made the whole world see the light, lessons learnt for sure.

    Keep up the good work, together we will all certainly overcome adversity.

    Leon Jackson [ Principal – Nicolway Real Estate ]

  • Jan Vermaak
    Reply

    I paid for my CPD R2500 last year in April for 2019 and still can’t access e-learning, because they said I did not pay, and I sent all the proof to the EAAB and still no results.

  • Linda de Lange
    Reply

    I paid in advance last year 2019 for my 2020 renewal, but had not even received my 2019 FFC ( received 2019 in the meantime). Proof was sent to registration of the payment, am still waiting, no response.

  • Anita Huyser
    Reply

    I pay in advance for my 2020 renewal, in 2019 and still did not receive my FFC renewal for 2020, proof of payment was sent to EAAB and several calls and online inquiries but still no results please help.

  • HANS ROBIN DE LANGE
    Reply

    Dear Mrs. Mohlala, I am the Principal of Engel & Voelkers Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl, Cape Town. I paid my CPD 2020 fees on 18.2.2020 and unfortunately the system still shows “not paid”. I did file a query under number 1171164 and the matter seems still not attended to by Thabang Modise. As per the comment above, raised by another colleague, this lockdown would have been ideal to attend to e-learning. I also requested the IEASA to assist me, however, still the EAAB claims no receipt of my CPD fees. I kindly request your urgent assistance, for which I thank you.

  • Elna
    Reply

    Madame
    Us agents want to start working. That is what we want from you. Convince the appropriate ministers and decision makers to allow us to start working. Asap. Even before level 3. Fight for us. That is what I would like to see and hear from my CEO.

  • Bethuel Mtolo
    Reply

    Thank for your response and what about the relief funds for the estate agents

  • Gert Wepener
    Reply

    Our CPD payment still show oustanding although proof of payment DONE ON THE 9th of February 2020. was sent to EAAB on numerous occasions
    EAAB Reference number – GJP WEPENER – 1163886 & EH WEPENER – 1163885

    You dont have access to E-Learning , please pay first

  • Janice Hicks
    Reply

    What happens to the R2000 CDP fees which those of us have already paid do we get a refund? My FFC has been inactive queue waiting to be issued since February all paid and correct yet not issued… why?

  • Mary Andalaft
    Reply

    Thank you for your response Dear lady, I have had a query from the beginning of the year where my account shows my previous company’s Liscense and office license as being mine. I have not been able to sort this out without the assistance of EAAB and the previous company I worked at. Until this can be sorted I cannot get my own Fidelity fund nor can I access the CPD which I paid for in this year.

  • Eric Reurts
    Reply

    A double payment for my 2019 FFC was picked up by the EAAB and a letter send to me stating that, failing instructions from me to the contrary, the credit would be offset against my 2020 FFC.
    No FFC issued, because I did not give written permission for the EAAB to use the credit on my account. Written permission send same day, phone calls promises phone calls promises, online logging of query ,written promises. FFC issued 5th May valid from 5th May.

    • Wanda
      Reply

      I have checked regularly online as I paid my CPD en Registered just before the Lockdown started and there is no e-courses on the web
      As per all the above comments it is clear that CPD issues are also at the forefront and needs to be clear and concisely regulated during these times – pleading from you to resolve this ASAP
      Thank you for your continued efforts to get our industry back on Level 3 or even Level 4. The Banks Association is even begging for this!

  • Hans Snyman
    Reply

    This response comes from a person that gets a full salary paid from money made on the backs of hard working agents. I do not know what make her live hard. It is high time that the EAAB also work on a commission basis . No work no pay.

  • Remo Zambetti
    Reply

    It is high time that you as the CEO of the EAAB, stop defending your continued incompetence!
    1. FFC’s are supposed to have been issued by the end of 2019, it is May 2020 and if you, as you stated in your reply, are still busy issuing FFC’s, then you have failed in one of your primary responsibilities! Accept responsibility for your incompetence!
    2. You have not answered one of the queries from Mr Le Roux, i.e. why during lockdown, you sent out emails of demand for so called outstanding money, with threatening action if not paid within 10 days. In my case a total BS outstanding amount as I do not owe the EAAB 1 cent! I immediately answered your threatening email, but as per standard operating procedure for the EAAB, I have never received any explanation or apology from you or your staff that submitted the emails in error in the first place! I still await your explanation in this regard as you seem to have chosen to ignore this issue in your response to Mr Le Roux! Accept responsibility for your incompetence!
    3. The fact that you are not prepared to waiver all CPD fees for 2020, explains a lot about the EAAB. We, the agents are paying CPD fees, not to cover the cost of the CPD program, but to continue financing your glorious gravy train that you are operating at the EAAB! If this is not the case, then please explain why you require the ludicrous amount of over R80 million (40000 agents X R2000) to run a simple CPD program which I could run for less than R5 million? It is time you stopped this gravy train and operated the CPD program on e-learning alone and cut the CPD fees down to R500/agent which will give you R20 million to run the program, which I think is still excessive!

  • Serame
    Reply

    I must applaud your well articulated response Mme wa Rona, I personally feel much more relieved to have heard directly from you, especially where you make reference and emphasis to the need to protect human life without apology and compromise. I wish to also state that I have had issues with my FFC for sometime now (despite having paid and sent proof of such through the web and I have colleagues who can also attest to suffering same). I think the much needed response is in relation to systems and mechanisms for estate agents’ covid relief funds of some sort or form. It may appear as rather unfortunate, unpleasant or unfair to place all our anxieties and frustrations on your doorstep, but we do this because you are our point of reference (Re bana ba hao). Please help find ways to improve the efficiency of your subordinates such that we could avoid knocking directly on your door. Aluta Continua, Serame

  • Suzette Moco
    Reply

    I did what the CEO instructed and emailed her colleague regarding a payment I made for CPD prior to lockdown and the email address reflected on the EAAB website was
    returned undelivered. Need I say more?

  • Gregor Farmer
    Reply

    I paid for my CPD at the beginning of 2020 and it has yet to reflect that the payment has been received!! It would also assist if we could, at least, continue with CPD training in the midst of this lockdown. However, thanks to Rebosa for keeping us posted about our industry during this unprecedented time1

  • Loren
    Reply

    Thank you for your response Madam. However, I as I am sure are many principals and agents have been waiting for our “CPD plan 2020” to :
    1. Be shown as paid – which mine was in January and to date, whilst using the correct portal and then liaising with someone on email am still waiting for my R2500 to reflect as paid – so that we can register for now all online events we are nearly half way through the year and come 2021 the EAAB will announce that no FFC’s will be issued to those who have not completed 2020 CPD… I suppose

    2. Getting letters of demand (without a previous invoice) for only you would know to the tune of R12 000 my queries have gone unanswered by the souls that sent this to me twice. Send me an invoice please – all my Trust Audits are up to date and the interest earned paid up to and including 2019 audit… 2020 is still in progress so what indeed could your team be wanting R12 000 for?

    MIA….. yes madam you have been and your staff have NOT been performing.

    • Netta
      Reply

      Can you please get permission for all estate agents to work on level 3?

  • Lorraine Manning
    Reply

    Dear Mam,
    With all due respect I don’t think anyone knew or knows what decision is right and what is wrong in the pandemic Covid 19. However I would like to ask, could we have the e-learning up as I have already paid. I am busy to get my audits in time. I will request that the my FFC is renewed.
    All I beg, on behalf of many many principals, let us start working. Give us your Covid rules re masks, disinfect etc and let us follow your direction and help get the economy moving again.
    Mam, you know as well as we do that it’s not just the EAAB, it’s also the government that requires us to work for funds for the government to run.
    Let’s not be America and the UK that already are in a repression distressed time with real estate. Let’s be wise. We locked down in time, the hospitals are ready with beds like in the VW building as an example.
    The agency gives masks to the buyers, the agent disinfects the client, the estate agent wears gloves and masks, instruct buyer to not touch anything in the home. The agent maintains social distancing – this can definitely work. I understand that you feel that your hands are tied, but mam you can and I know you won’t give up on helping us, please. You have been put in this power, believe in us, together it can happen.

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