‘Train smash’ as agents battle EAAB dysfunctional system
MAIN IMAGE: Linda Byron, office manager of the National Realtors Group in Gqeberha, Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa
Estate agents are perturbed about the payment for FFCs and the pending CPD examinations with a new year just two months away and the new Property Practitioners Act looming for implementation any day.
In 2020 Minister Lindiwe Sisulu gave a directive to waive CPD fees as part of her Covid-19 impact relief measures for agents. At the time of the announcement many agents had already paid their fees which should have been allocated to the 2021 CPD cycle. However, the EAAB never allocated the payments and are now not renewing FFCS as the FFC payments are being offset against 2021 CPD. As a result, agents who should have FFCs are not getting them, creating an even bigger backlog.
According to Linda Byron, office manager of the National Realtors Group in Gqeberha, the history of the complete failure of the EAAB to address their own dysfunctionality has been a living nightmare for agents and agencies for the last 7 years, if not longer.
“Their default is doing everything manually and ‘we apologise for the inconvenience’, this from the Regulatory Body dictating the ability of agents to earn a living. The best way to describe it is a tragedy,” she said.
“We are going to be facing a very bleak 2022 with no FFC’s if the situation is not addressed and corrected. It is common knowledge that agents have dealt with nightmares over the years with getting FFC’s renewed, CPD payments allocated, registering of new agents and many more problems. We also then had the Covid-19 debacle with the 2020 CPD and of course everyone’s favourite, the 2020 online PDE.
“All of this is a backdrop to what now appears to be a ‘train wreck’ in the making which will leave a large number of agents without FFC’s in 2022, which considering the PP Act on its way, will result in agents being unable to access commission.
“There appears to be an instruction within the finance department of the EAAB that any monies received currently is to be allocated against any ‘outstanding’ entries within their dysfunctional system and not for what it was actually intended for.”
Some of the examples of the experience of agents are:
- “R10 outstanding therefore 2022 FFC cannot be issued – This agent was issued with a 2021 FFC and the payment amount paid each year is R364.80 – How is this even possible?”
- “Your payment for 2022 FFC renewal was reconciled with 2020 FFC late payment penalty invoice. An outstanding balance of R305 is still due. – This Agent was issued with a 2021 FFC. Proof was supplied that the payment for 2020 was not late
- Thank you for your renewal payment. However, your payment automatically reconciled with the attached invoices for your CPD and PDE5 exam. This Agent was one of the unfortunate ones that paid to write the online exam in 2020 and was unable to access the system. He was then given permission to re-write in February 2021 with the payment being ‘re-allocated’.”
These emails all come from a “no-reply” email address, so it is impossible to follow up. Currently the online query system is not functioning, no emails are responded to and in many instances the phones are not answered and all of this with the payment deadline having expired at the end of October and the first R240 penalty payment due from 1 November.
Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa said on 11 July 2021 that as part of his interventions by the State to alleviate the effects of the Covid pandemic on the economy that cabinet has decided that all business licenses and permits that expired between March 2020 and June 2021 will remain valid until 31 December 2022. New business licenses and permits that are issued from the 1st of July will also be valid until 31 December 2022 and no license fee will be payable”.
The EAAB, however, reacted and stated that while they endeavour to seek clarity on whether these statements are applicable to the real estate sector in general and estate agents specifically with respect to Fidelity Fund Certificates, they hold the view that this is not applicable to FFCs issued by the EAAB and that the President’s announcement relates to new licenses as governed by the Business Act No. 71 of 1991, and issued by the Commission for Intellectual Property and Companies.
The EAAB expected all estate agents and agencies that fall within their jurisdiction, to continue to apply and pay for their fees for Fidelity Fund Certificates in terms of the EAA Act.
Jan le Roux, CE of Rebosa, expressed his concern about the current situation at the EAAB regarding the FFCs and the PDE examinations.
“We are very concerned about the non-allocation of payments for CPD purposes. It appears that although many agencies that have paid for 2020 and therefore do not have to pay for 2021, now experience a difficulty in getting their FFC issued as the payment they made for their 2022 certificates is being allocated towards CPD thus leaving a shortfall. This leads to the cancellation of the agents’ 2022 FFCs renewal.
“All of this happens because of the incorrect or absence of allocation of payments for CPD. Rebosa has approached the CEO of the EAAB board and suggested that no certificates be withheld because of difficulties they are experiencing with their systems.
“We advise that it would be most unfortunate if agents who have paid for certificates and owe no money, are deprived of certificates due to technical failure on the side of the EAAB,” Le Roux said.
Image source: By ITU Pictures – ITU Official Visits, High Level and VIP Meetings, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=91687343