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Years of sweat and tears behind unity in property

MAIN IMAGE: Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive Pam Golding Property Group; Leo Mlambo, president National Property Forum; Vuyiswa Mutshekwane, chairperson National Property Practitioners Council

South Africa’s property sector finally has one representative body, the National Property Practitioners Council (NPPC), also representing the best interests of the vast majority of estate agents. What most people perhaps don’t know is that this achievement is the culmination of years of hard work by a number of key role players in the sector that remained committed to seeing their dream of just such a body come into fulfilment.

The unification of the country’s major representative bodies from the broader property sector has been lauded as a historic first for the industry. The real estate property sector is represented in the NPPC by virtually all the current associations/bodies in the sector (see member organisations below).

Also read: Property sector speaks with one voice

Many previous efforts to achieve a united voice for the sector failed. In the late ’90s the Real Estate Coordinating Council (RECC) was formed and had short-lived success. In 2006 the National Association of Real Estate Agents (NAREA) followed only to amalgamate with the Institute of Estate agents of South Africa (IEASA) thereafter.

However, Services SETA required that there should be two separate bodies, one representing the business owners (employers) and another for the estate agents (employees). IEASA opted to be the body representing estate agents and Real Estate Business Owners of SA (REBOSA) was created to represent business owners/employers. The National Property Forum (NPF) likewise represents business owners.

Dr Andrew Golding, then President of IEASA became the first Chairman of the newly launched REBOSA.

“I felt it was really important that the real estate industry be represented by an inclusive effective organisation to ensure the continuation of a vibrant successful and forward-looking sector I am delighted with the establishment of the NPPC, long overdue especially at this critical time in the industry in so many ways, says Golding.

Leo Mlambo, President NPF, remembers the old days and negotiations with IEASA and REBOSA well. “The creation of the NPPC is a milestone to be proud of. We tried to make this happen a few years ago and unfortunately did not succeed – now we have a unified body to address the many industry challenges that we face. Member organisations like the NPF still represent their members but can be more effective by doing so through the NPPC.”

The NPPC is the new kid on the block, it’s speedy establishment a necessity in view of the challenges that the real estate industry faces around loss of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as other matters such as addressing the backlog on the issuing of Fidelity Fund Certificates.

The NPPC got out of the starting blocks with a vengeance with appeals to the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) in respect of allowing the late submission of audit reports, waiving CPD payments and penalties, and more importantly, with a number of submissions to the government to appeal for the freedom to trade for all estate agents during Level 4 lockdown.

Some successes followed and the industry “re-opened” on the 1st of June. The EAAB responded positively but not finally to all the appeals for assistance.

“The NPPC is an association of associations and operates much like a federation. Individual association members remain totally independent except when all member associations agree to act in unison. This means that reaching consensus is always a priority in order to move forward,” says Vuyiswa Mutshekwane, first Chairperson of the NPPC. She says “We want to offer government and the regulator a platform through which communication with the entire sector can be enhanced/ made possible. We want to be the responsible voice for all stakeholders for the government and regulator to consult and trust. Our aim is inclusion and we invite all representative bodies in the sector to be governed by the Property Practitioners Act to join. The NPPC and all its members still have a huge responsibility to ensure that the industry remains ‘open for business’, we simply cannot afford another Level 4 lockdown. Estate agents must be able to trade even at Level 4 as is the case with banks, lawyers and the deeds office”.

The various organisations below will remain so and their members will remain paying the membership fees to those institutions and will continue to rely on said institutions to represent their particular interests. The association members in turn belong to the NPPC and look to the latter to further the aims of all concerned.

The members of the NPPC are:

South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP)
South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA)
Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA)
National Property Forum (NPF)
National Association of Managing Agents (NAMA)
Institute of Certified Business Brokers (ICBB)
South African Institute of Auctioneers (SAIA)
Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa (IEASA)
South African Business Broking Association (SABBA)

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