Representative bodies in South Africa's real estate sector have come together to form a national council to act as the industry representative body in matters pertaining to the sector.
Collectively, the National Property Practitioners Council (NPPC) represents the interests over 40 000 agents, brokers, professionals, consultants, developers, managing agents, and financing institutions falling within the ambit of the Property Practitioners Act, which is replacing the old Estate Agents Affairs Act of 1936.
The fact that the new act broadens the definition of what a property practitioner is, was a catalyst for the formation of the council, according to the council chair Vuyiswa Mutshekwane. She is also the CEO of the Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP).
Mutshekwane explains that the council's aim is to formulate, develop and implement credible industry-wide strategies capable of addressing national key imperatives and industry objectives. These include, but are not limited to, industry regulation, transformation and education priorities.
A current priority for her is to address the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on the property sector and to try and find relief measures to mitigate some of the challenges.
"It is very important to have a platform to coordinate and streamline the diverse voices in the industry," she says.
Especially the large number of registered estate agents in the country are currently in a very vulnerable position due to the national lockdown restrictions. As commission earners, they find themselves in a type of no man's land.
Also, a high priority on the NPPC agenda are the draft regulations which will give effect to the new act, addressing industry growth opportunities and streamlining and building relations between the industry, government and all relevant stakeholders.
The NPPC also aims to work closely with the regulatory authority to facilitate industry-wide consultation going forward.
The issue of meaningful transformation in the industry is very important for Mutshekwane.
"We want to work closely with the Property Sector Charter and other institutions. Given the urgency of the issue, we need a practical approach. It cannot just be a box ticking compliance," she says.
"We need to monitor and measure the success of any intervention and focus on enterprise development to drive entrepreneurship and support small businesses in the sector and remove inefficiencies and barriers to entry to create a level playing field."
The council is open to all organised "formations and stakeholders" who fall within the definitions of the act. The new body does not have individuals as members, only industry bodies.
This is because it is not meant to replace any existing organisation, but to be a platform to debate on industry level issues.
The founding members of the NPPC are: the South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP); the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA); the Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA); the National Property Forum (NPF); the National Association of Managing Agents (NAMA); the Institute of Certified Business Brokers; the South African Institute of Auctioneers (SAIA); the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa (IEASA) and the South African Business Broking Association (SABBA).