MAIN IMAGE: Mamodupi Mohlala, CEO EAAB; Oscar Mangole, EAAB Covid-19 compliance officer.
In this uncertain time of ‘new normal’ and adapting to working with face masks, carrying permits and hand sanitizers, estate agents are asking where is the Estate Agency Affairs Board in offering guidance and support? CEO Mamodupi Mohlala gives some answers.
On Monday 1 June the whole country moved into Level 3 Lockdown with most businesses and institutions returning to work, but estate agents will have to bear with the EAAB’s online system and call centre awhile longer. In an online statement released on Sunday 31 March CEO Mamodupi Mohlala says the offices of the EAAB will remain closed while measures are put in place to make the work environment compliant with Covid-19 health and safety regulations. These measures include the appointment of a Covid-19 compliance officer, Oscar Mangole, and two special task teams comprised of senior EAAB employees.
Question: When will the offices of the EAAB reopen?
Answer: On 8 June some of the EAAB employees will return to the office and others will continue to work remotely. The EAAB will not at this stage be opening its doors to the public or to property practitioners on this date. An announcement is yet to be made about the date for the official reopening of its doors.
Q: Will the EAAB also issue guidelines or how will the EAAB be assisting the industry with regard to compliance with Level 3 safety requirements?
A: Yes, we will be issuing guidelines and it will be communicated to industry.
We have appointed two task teams comprising of EAAB executives. The first team will ensure the regulator is compliant with the Disaster Management Act regulations in terms of health and safety. The second team is responsible for all policy interventions including guidelines, internal policies and other legal instruments needed to initially safeguard skeleton staff operations and then the gradual re-opening of the EAAB.
Q: When will online CPD courses be made available?
A: The project outline has been finalised and we are now in the process of rolling it out. An announcement on this will be communicated shortly, including when the courses will be available online.
Q: What is being done to address the backlog on issuing FFCs?
A: The EAAB has a dedicated team dealing with all FFC related matters. This team has been working remotely throughout lockdown and has been issuing FFCs. Anyone with outstanding FFC queries can direct emails to the addresses provided on our website.
Q: Any news from the DHS Minister on relief proposals for estate agents?
A: The shareholder compact stipulates that the Department of Human Settlements has 30 days within which to respond to the EAAB’s submissions. The 30 days expires within this month.
The regulator is mindful of the economic implications the sector is experiencing as a result of the national lockdown and will communicate the response from the department as soon as such is received.
Q: Tell us more about the Covid-19 compliance officer – is he also available in an advisory capacity to all registered property practitioners?
A: The compliance officer is mainly tasked with assisting with internal EAAB systems. However, the industry can channel any questions through the compliance officer who will facilitate answers on a three-day turn-around time, unless such answers are dependent on third party intervention. Mr Oscar Mangole can be contacted via email on Oscar.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q; What is the role of the two special task teams?
A: The Building Readiness Task Team is tasked with ensuring workplace readiness. Led by task team leader Karen Son (acting CFO) the team is comprised of executives with expertise in procurement and logistics who will ensure and oversee procurement of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and other health and safety equipment as stipulated by the Disaster Management Act regulations. This team will also deal with human resources issues, including communications with the unions and communication and marketing that will periodically disseminate messages to staff and the public. The team also include experts in risk management (to provide advice on risk assessment and monitoring of any emergency risks) and information technology (to deal with details of reconfiguring ICT systems).
The second task team, the Covid-19 Policy Review Task Team is led by Dineo Mphahlele (Executive: Inspections) and is made up of executives with legal qualifications who will ensure legally sound policies are formulated in accordance with the all legislated requirements.
In Sunday’s statement CEO Mamodupi said a more comprehensive plan will be published on the EAAB’s website on Thursday 4 June and distributed to all stakeholders via their bulk email platform.