FFC’s, CPD and audits in 2021

FFC’s, CPD and audits in 2021

MAIN IMAGE: Mamodupi Mohlala, CEO Estate Agency Affairs Board

FFC’s, CPD and audits – the three mandatory must-haves that every estate agent must have in place every year or face the music with the regulatory body, the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB). The latest on backlogs and possible waiving of fees and penalties.

Successfully obtaining, completing and submitting these three requirements already posed a challenge pre-Covid. Add the pandemic and the economic impact felt as a result of the national lockdown, and the challenges multiply exponentially.

FFC’s: EAAB says all certificates were issued to compliant agents, Rebosa disagrees

Every year hundreds of estate agents start the new year without their renewed Fidelity Fund Certificates, despite having applied and paid for it before 31 October of the previous year. The online systems of the EAAB are apparently to blame for the failure to issue certificates to compliant agents by 31 December – without which they are not entitled to commission in the new year.

For the past few years Rebosa have been assisting distressed agents to obtain their certificates.

This year is no different – except that the EAAB CEO Mamodupi Mohlala once again, like last year, claims that all certificates to compliant agents were issued by 31 December.

In fact, in the EAAB’s response last week it was claimed not only that all compliant FFC’s for 2021 had been issued by 31 December 2020, but also that industry bodies had “all confirmed they are in receipt of their FFC’s that are compliant”.

Also read: EAAB disappoints

Rebosa CE Jan le Roux says the hundreds of queries from anxious agents about outstanding FFC’s they have been receiving since 2 January tell a different story.

Says Le Roux, “In 2019 the CEO advised us that around 29 000 certificates were issued timeously (this year we were not advised as to the number issued). This eventually increased to 46 000 and more later in the year. I do not believe that the entire difference was due to non-compliance apart from which we submitted a list of about 700 outstanding FFC’s early in January 2020. In the EAAB’s response to our list it was clearly indicated that several certificates that were supposed to have been issued before 31 December 2019, were actually issued in January onwards. This means to say that the statement that all certificates were issued timeously the previous year was simply not factually correct.”

He continues that the CEO, in fact, late last year also responded to a parliamentary committee in similar fashion. “Once again her response was not factually correct. We therefore believe that not all due certificates were issued timeously and have now received hundreds of complaints confirming same – a repeat of last year’s events,” ends Le Roux.

With regards to Ms Mohlala’s statement that industry bodies were approached, what actually transpired was that she sent a WhatsApp on 30 December to them. In this message she stated that all compliant FFC’s had been issued by 23 December. She asked Rebosa if it “held a contrary view” to which Le Roux replied “I am afraid you (the CEO) are in a better position to answer your question as you presumably have finalised all applications and renewals. Only you can know if all queries have been responded to … We do believe that not all FFC’s have been issued and will be in touch early in the new year…”

Help and another promise of an IT upgrade

Long story short – Rebosa last week invited estate agents, who has proof that they applied and paid timeously for the renewal of their certificate to register on their webpage for assistance.

The EAAB has not this time made known how many FFC’s have been issued to date for 2021, but there is a light flickering in the tunnel. The regulating body says they are in the process of finalising the appointment of a suitable ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) service provider who will come in and update their systems. “Once the system is properly updated, we will be better positioned to ensure timeous and complete issuance of FFC’s without too much human involvement and with much improved efficiency,” ends the EAAB’s response.

Le Roux is less impressed. “Mr Biko, chairman of the EAAB confirmed that the IT system would be replaced, starting in 2017. However, in order to cater for the regulator’s expanded jurisdiction (bond originators etc.) under the Property Practitioners Act (which is only commencing now this year) a failing IT system was left in place for four more years which left thousands of agents without FFC’s over many years – this should never have happened. Agents should have been the priority”.

Will CPD fees for 2021 also be waived?

Property Professional have received quite a few queries about CPD (Continuous Professional Development) fees and whether Rebosa would intervene to have it waived for 2021 as the EAAB still doesn’t have online training programmes in place. Last year gyms, schools and all kinds of training institutions managed to rather quickly upload online training programmes. Not so the EAAB – no online training programmes were provided.

In July Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu announced that the R2 500 for CDP training was waived for 2020 but unfortunately a lot of agents had already paid their annual fees. The EAAB’s CEO, Ms Mohlala then said there will be no refunds but the account of agents who had paid would be accredited for 2021’s CPD and they would not be expected to pay again. She also promised that the EAAB would “soon be providing CPD on an electronic platform”.

Also read: EAAB to close doors till spring?

‘Soon’ eventually took another four months with electronic CPD courses only made available at the beginning of December on the MyCPD online agents’ portal on the EAAB’s website. All estate agents, both those that paid and those that didn’t, are expected to complete the CPD online training course for 2020. However, this process has not been without some system problems, once again. Le Roux says Rebosa is in the process of following up on this matter with the EAAB. He also advises agents that paid for CPD in 2020 to be patient as payment for 2021 will be due soon which they will then not have to pay.

Audits

Last year Minister Sisulu also announced that penalty fees for late audits would be waived. Estate agencies were given time until 31 October to submit their audit reports. No announcement has been made that a similar leniency would apply this year – agencies are best advised to ensure they make the deadline to submit this year’s audit reports on time to avoid possible penalties. Finding a credible auditor to assist in this process have proved to be a challenge for many agencies in the past – do read the article with advice from the South Africa Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) on why it is preferable to contract SAICA registered accountants.

Showing 17 comments
  • Johann Claassen
    Reply

    Despite the fact that the 2020 CPD fees were waived, you cannot access the e-learning for 2020 if you have not paid your fees. However, if you pay your 2020 CPD fees, it still does not roll over for 2021.

  • Debbie Wall-Smith
    Reply

    Paid 2020 CPD, Tried to log on to do 2020 Elearning on Monday, Asked to complete 2021 PDP, Sent and invoice for 2021 CPD, I am not prepared to pay again, have emailed the lady for CPD given on the website – no reply, emailed info@Eaab, email failed, Logged an online query via the website, no response. An intern agent has being trying to register since February 2020, in November FFC was sent to him with a different person’s surname, he is trying again, nearly a year to register as an agent. Submitted my mandatory self audit online, screen wen blank when I pressed submit, contacted in December told that I did not submit the self audit, I responded with the date and time frame I did it as my office analytics can prove that I was working on it in that time frame, no response to my email. It is impossible to be compliant. Am I going to be forced to stop trading because of the governing bodies inefficiencies?

  • Wilna Vosloo
    Reply

    The EAAB does not reply when one enquires about anything. I have had my FFC for every year until last year and now they tell me I am 3 years in arrears with my membership payments. I still have not heard anything from them since I enquired about it last year and therefore have to start this year again without a FCC, although I am paid up now up to 2022!!!

  • Gretha Dunn
    Reply

    Some 2021 FFC have been issued, but cannot print.

  • Victor
    Reply

    Absolute Disgrace!
    They have no shame!

  • Lizette
    Reply

    The inefficiency is heartbreaking

  • Remo
    Reply

    I have been trying to get 2019 and 2020 CPD e-learning to be unlocked since 5 August 2020. It took numerous emails before finally the 2019 CPD e-learning was finally unlocked and I could complete it, but as of today 21 January 2021, I still have no access to 2020 e-learning even after 9 emails to three different persons!!!
    The EAAB is a disgrace and the vast majority of these incompetents should be fired starting with the CEO!!
    If they performed like this in the private sector, they would have been fired long ago. The EAAB is protected employment for the un-employable!!

  • Les Taylor
    Reply

    We do need guidance and assistance to achieve all the requirements laid down by the EAAB as Covid has destroyed all normal functionalities and everything must be done differently by estate agents.

    We do need channels that are functional and in place to work through and tools to assist us to achieve these goals.

    Financially, because of Covid, it is a disaster for many estate agents and most will not be able to carry on to function and work in the work place.

    For the EAAB to be adamant and not issue FFC’s to estate agents because all the requirements have not been met in these difficult and trying times will bring many families to poverty and hardship.

  • Christopher Jones
    Reply

    I paid my FFC before 31 October 2020.
    In December I realised that my FFC had not been issued.
    I tried to phone the EAAB on 087 285 322 and each time I got a message that if the call is not answered after 30 seconds that I must just hold on and the call will be answered. After trying 20 times, the calls were in fact cut off after the 30 seconds. I gave up.
    In January 2021 I tried again and eventually my call was answered after another 15 calls. I had phoned in December before they closed and again in January after they had opened. I was told to log a query, which I did. After a week I tracked the query and noticed that it had no movement. After I emailed the EAAB it was escalated. Another week later still in escalated status.

  • Christopher Jones
    Reply

    I paid my 2020 CPD fees in January 2020.
    In January 2021, I tried to log on to do 2020 e-learning and was asked to complete 2021 PDP, which I did. I could not get access to the e-learning and was notified that I had not paid my 2020 CPD fees. We have been given 6 months to complete the e-learning and one month is just about over. Surely they could have given us access to the e-learning in 2020?

  • Desiree
    Reply

    I have tried to go in to do the CPD for 2020 and it states that I am blocked and need to make payment. Subsequently, I did my PDP for 2021 and paid CPD fees last week for 2021 and the system still says I am blocked. I have sent numerous emails to numerous people at the EAAB and no luck. This is really disgusting service from the body that is supposed to govern this industry. Unfortunately, full status agents have to suffer the consequences of complying by ie paying for FFC’s and CPD and do tests yearly whilst unqualified agents and interns (older than 2 years) are allowed to operate and are still being issued with FFC’s. Who is checking on the hundreds of agencies and agents that are not complying/ not legal????

  • Telana
    Reply

    The CPD e-learning system does not work!!!!! When I call the EAAB, they say they are having technical difficulties. STILL!!!
    I have been an agent for 21 years, and honestly, the EAAB has gotten progressively worse each year. It is a disgrace.

  • MARIUS NEL
    Reply

    EAAB cannot even manage their own system to allocate payments for CPD or FFC renewals correctly nor rectify mistakes concerning this being made. When trying to enquire concerning these inabilities via telephone or e mail – no answer or no response. Incompetency is this organisation’s trademark. I have various case studies to prove what I am saying.

  • maurice
    Reply

    My CPD won’t allow me to do my e-learning for 2020, as it says: You don’t have access to E-Learning, please pay first.
    I paid for 2020 and this is meant to be carried over for 2021.
    What now, we are almost in February 2021 and we have never been able to do our e-learning???
    When I call the EAAB, which is almost 3 times a week and try over 5 times every time, the phone gets answered by an automated answering machine, requests me to hold on, within a minute the call gets put down….
    What must we do to be able to be compliant?

  • Nicci
    Reply

    I have been trying to help a fellow agent who paid her 2020 CPD fees in Feb 2020. To date she has never received acknowledgment of this payment despite repeated emails, telephone calls and query logging. She is unable to access her e-learning because she hasn’t paid! I ask you….how is this possible ?

    • James Otter
      Reply

      I paid my 2020 CPD fees on Dec 14, 2020, and did the e-learning. I paid my 2021 CPD fees on Jan 14, 2021, but I could not access e-learning because of “non-payment”. I have since discovered that 2021 e-learning material will become available in March, so I can’t access it although I have paid. I suggest that your friend is clicking on to 2021 instead of 2020. I had no problems doing 2020 CPD by e-learning. You should be able to do 2020 now. You will be able to do 2021 after EAAB has loaded it in March. I hope this helps.

  • Johann Claassen
    Reply

    Since when is the Self Assessment Audit mandatory. When you contact the EAAB help desk they tell you that you only have to submit a Self Assessment whenever they request you to do so.

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