EAAB this must stop!

EAAB this must stop!

MAIN IMAGE: Mamodupi Mohlala, CEO of Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB)

The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) again has a technical failure fiasco on their hands.

Last Thursday 25 February hundreds if not thousands of estate agents and principals sat down for their online Professional Designation Examination (PDE). What ensued was described by many as a nightmare with allegedly no or little support from the technical team or anyone else from the EAAB.

Due to the Covid pandemic the Board last year announced that all future PDE examinations would be conducted strictly online. There would no longer be an option to write a venue-based exam. The first online examination took place on 19 November. There were some technical problems but it worked more or less. The cost to write the exam is R2 500.

The second roll-out of the online PDE exam was last Thursday. However, this time the technical problems had multiplied exponentially. Some estate agents struggled to access the online platform for hours while frantically calling and sending multiple emails to the EAAB’s appointed IT support team but with no response. Another major problem was that exam candidates could not return to questions to review their answers before submitting their exam paper – this despite indications on the exam platform that it would be allowed.

Frustrated by the lack of response from the EAAB to their calls and emails many estate agents vented their outrage on social media platforms. Yet the EAAB up to now has remained silent – not even an acknowledgement has been received on Property Professional’s request for comments on this matter.

This cannot continue!

Technical system problems are nothing new when it comes to the lack of service delivery estate agents receive from their regulatory body. For the past few years, the EAAB has blamed the annual backlog to issue FFC’s timeously on an outdated IT system. Promises to address the problem was already made in 2017 but actual updating of the system has been continuously postponed. This year the entity’s CEO Mamodupi Mohlala said they are now going to start the process to overhaul and update the IT system.

Consequently, thousands of estate agents every year, despite fulfilling all regulatory requirements to renew their FFC, start the new year unable to legally earn an income through commission.

This is a matter of great concern as the new Property Practitioners Act, which is expected to become enacted this year possibly even as early as 1 April, strictly prohibits conveyancers from paying commission to anyone unable to present a FFC.

Exasperated with the lack of action industry body Rebosa earlier this year brought an urgent court application against the EAAB in an effort to ensure compliance with the Act and the Regulations. The EAAB is opposing the court application.

Besides the FFC backlog other technical-related problems with the regulator include:

  • Thousands of unanswered queries
  • CPD online training courses that can’t be accessed and confusion over payment allocations between last year and this year
  • Agents from previously disadvantaged groups (PDI’s) unable to avail themselves of the opportunities offered under the ‘PDI Resolution’

“Thousands of agents are at risk, most often due to EAAB malfunction. This cannot continue!” says Rebosa chief executive Jan le Roux.

Showing 23 comments
  • Mike

    In the previous PDE exam I had no fair chance to complete the exam as I was kicked of the platform numerous times. I total I lost more than two hours. My complaints did not receive any feedback and I had to rewrite and pay again. This was completely unfair.

  • Frans Human

    I agree 100% that the EAAB cannot function like this any longer. I wrote my PDE 4 exam November 2020 and still up to now I cannot get the EAAB to upgrade my status from Intern to Full Status Agent. I also want to upgrade to Principal but with this type of service they offer to us hard working agents … it is unacceptable to say the least. This whole ordeal is now costing me money while trying to make a living in this industry.
    I also have queries unanswered since 2020.

  • Eugene

    The EAAB has been absolutely useless when it comes to service all these years! I don’t know why everyone is still paying them??

  • Monty

    Fire the EAAB. It is an incompetent body.

  • Pieter Venter

    I was busy with my PDE exam with the short questions. According to the time plan we need to spend 190 minutes on the short questions. I did so and when I reached the time limit, I pressed the button to finish the assessment. I thought it will take me to the long questions but it did not, it took me out of the total assessment. I was at question 20 of the 40 questions so I was out of the exam.

  • deon

    I am the broker principal of my own boutique commercial brokerage company for the past 19 years. For all these years there has always been major issues with licensing and many other associated issues I do not want to reach into now.

    There used to be EAAB roadshows which was attended by many brokers who wanted to use their attendances as an opportunity to air their grievances. The response was always promises to improve, or denials.

    About 8 years ago I was without a FFC for almost 1′-1/2 years because of a simple error of miscommunication. I was penalized for not submitting my audited trust account. After about 36 emails and I do not know how many calls for help and resubmitting the 2 years’ audit accounts, it eventually came to light that the auditor submitting the trust account must be independent from the one doing the books of the company. Which was immediately corrected.

    To this day I am not sure if there is a condition like that, or if it was just an excuse. But the wasted time, aggravation and energy that was spent by myself and the EAAB staff was so unnecessary. After that I just decided to have as little to do with the organization as possible. Unfortunately the law is on their side and they are inescapable.

  • shaman balraj

    The online platform was a total mess. We did the pre-lim checks earlier in the week, did a test run example and conformed to exactly what they wanted. It looked pretty straightforward.
    We logged in at 8:10am, no exam available on the dashboard. We waited till 9am thinking we are too early, but by 9:50 confidence was fading away. Both of us tried several times, in fact non-stop and no answer from the EAAB office nor the IT department. We sent emails to both the EAAB and their IT staff and got zero response. So we said nothing is happening, let’s drive to Sandton to their office. My first question to them was if their phones work, apparently they do but you can never get through. What about the other candidates that couldn’t drive there to resolve their issues?

    After providing them with the necessary details, and about 30/40 mins later, we were loaded onto their system and were able to start the test. It seems like all the candidates weren’t captured, what a mess! Despite having emailed them and confirming that you are accepted for the exam.

    Then in the exam, some questions that I skipped for later, I could not return to them despite still having the available time according to their clock. There were glitches on their system.

    Covid is too convenient an excuse, we need to buckle up and start living again, give us an option to write at a venue if you can not provide proper IT online.

  • Moira A Wingate

    We have been in communication with the EAAB both by communication and by visits to the campus up to the time of lockdown when our emailed communications recommenced. Almost a year has passed since the EAAB provided us with the name of the person who had been appointed to deal with our issue as soon as the system has been restored. We receive no response to emails and have noted that the senior staff who previously dealt with issues have now delegated the issues to more junior staff members.
    During the course of our visits we have communicated with audit staff who have expressed concerns about compliance and also with the relaxations related to the upliftment programme.
    We would appreciate the opportunity of joining any class action which might be brought.
    There are other elements which should not be ignored. These include the number of staff being employed and the manner in which the funds generated from estate agents are being spent.
    Twenty years ago all of the additional compulsory payments were not applicable and yet the EAAB was run efficiently.
    It is important that the annual financial statements be made available to estate agents within a reasonable time after the end of each financial year.

  • Gerrie Reyneke

    I reckon we as agents should stand together and do what had been done to the e-toll system in Gauteng – ignore it! If we as agents elect our own governing body, all of us should join this new organisation and tell the government that this is the new estate agents regulatory authority. Then the EAAB will cease to exist as they will have no-one to govern and they will receive no fees from agents, thus they won’t be able to operate. And what will the government do – arrest all of us in this country??
    I have been struggling with the EAAB for the past 5 years with various matters – they are supposed to see to it that our conduct as agents is professional, yet they are far from professional – one of the most ineffective organisations I have encountered in my life!

    • Noneyobeezwax

      Many of you have in any event been ignoring legislation and regulations so it would merely be more of the same …

      • Gerrie Reyneke

        I take it you work for the EAAB?

  • Chris de Jager

    Fully agree with you Moira. Money paid over to EAAB for a specific matter just seems to be without a trace if a credit is due for a requested service not rendered, which is 99.9% of the time.
    The PDE exam was a nightmare with the pathetic technology. During the November exam I could not even log in, with no credit or assistance available afterwards. And to enter for the next exam…please pay first.
    The EAAB is a total disgrace to the estate industry. A feeding scheme to overpaid, incompetent, lazy and apathetic staff! A money-making racket.
    Please REBOSA! Lead a national class action. Stop this useless organisation.

  • rocco du plessis

    We insist that the EAAB becomes more transparent. We want to know that the IT upgrades went out on a transparent tender and that the successful bidder is capable and has not overinflated it’s tender. What assurance can the EAAB and their auditors give us regarding the above concern?

  • Sally

    I have paid R10 000 over the past 5 years to the EAAB for my CPD points and what have we had in return? Initially- the roadshows which meant many agents travelling far to listen to some good and some terrible speakers. Over the past few years we have done the online eLearning. It has also cost us extra sometimes to attend courses and speakers to get the non-verifiable points.
    They must make millions very year from the CPD money. Where is that going? And when we have paid we need to spend hours on emails and calls to convince them that our payment was made and should be reflected in our status. How difficult could it be to transfer the payments from last year to our 2021 status?

  • Gavin

    I agree with the motion to resort to class action, to withhold any further payments for sub standard ‘further education’and terrible service backed by an arrogant attitude. I am sure we are entitled to proper and professional treatment, as well as insight into the financials of the Fidelity Fund, which must have a balance of hundreds of millions.The annual income to the Board must be enormous and the expenses minute, the claims minimal.They must be held accountable for their incompetence, and replaced by qualified competent people.Agents need to stand together and fight back. Get rid of these money grabbing unproductive staff

  • Theresa Bester

    Absolutely agree. I am a financial manager at an agency firm and the service from EAAB is unacceptable (actually non-existent). This is for sure just a money-making organisation stealing agents’ and agencies’ money.

  • Karl Buschow

    I do not have words to explain the poor (non existent) service received from the EAAB. No one at the EAAB accepts responsibility nor accountability.

  • Shirleen

    I have proof of the exam that was a complete mess.

    • Dissapointed Intern

      I wrote both Nov and Feb exams. Thought in Nov that I was at fault, now I realize that the problems have been on their side both times. Not even an apology for Nov just a plain “nothing we can do, you will have to write again” that was the reply after Nov. The exam on 25 Feb was a complete nightmare and I also have proof of ALL that went wrong, just think like most things in SA today…. That is just the way it is, sad sad but so true….. ?

    • Toegtisa Fakier

      I wrote the PDE exam November 2020 and had so much of problems getting into the exam.After many attempts to call them and email I could only start the exam at 11 that day.
      While still busy with question 20 the system just threw me out and I couldn’t get back in.
      I am still struggling with them .I wanted to rewrite and they told me to pay again which I said I refuse to pay for something I couldn’t even write.
      I was done in unfairly and very upset with EAAB
      They just a money making entity. I agree with taking them to court.We as agents must stand together .

      • Victor

        Absolutely useless, they never respond to e mails or to tickets logged on their system.
        Even if you report someone breaking the law, they do nothing, just a waste of money!

  • Wonnie

    I too did my exam on 25 February. Logged into the Cirrus platform a week prior to set up. The day of my exam I couldn’t log in as Cirrus couldn’t pick up my microphone. Battled for an hour and 15 minutes and eventually logging in with my headphones at 10:15 am. On the first question my system froze and I had to log out and restart my laptop. I had lost so much time and had to rush through the questions.

  • Willem Mae

    When Mamodupi Mohlala, CEO of Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) came into office she replaced the IT provider with her own. This is where things started going wrong.
    Why do they cut off calls after 30 sec wait? Why don’t they phone back when agreed to do so.
    The question is who is the EAAB serving. They did not feel the pain of the lock down like agents did. They seem to be the enforcers of the law and to take money, not to serve the agents.

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