Calls for investigation into EAAB

Johannesburg – The only thing that that can help the Estate Agents Affairs Board (EAAB) overcome its ongoing woes is for Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale to intervene and have the board comprehensively investigated.

This is the view of industry players after the board’s announcement last week – for the umpteenth time – of changes to its leadership corps.

Serious questions are also being raised about a provisional management report in which the auditors question the institution’s “wasteful and fruitless” use of taxpayers’ money.

The EAAB has for years been operating ineffectively under the auspices of the department of trade and industry.

The board was recently moved to the jurisdiction of the department of human settlements, but matters have gone from bad to worse.

On Friday the board officially announced the decision to remove acting CEO Bryan Chaplog and appoint him chief financial officer.

It is argued that the decision is in accordance with EAAB policy, in terms of which the period for a person to act in a functional post should be limited.

Clive Ashpol, the executive manager of training, was appointed in his place, also in an acting capacity.

At the same time company secretary Nkululeko Ndebele was also removed from his position. No reason was given for the removal, other than that it had been a unanimous decision by the board.

Ashpol responded to email enquiry saying that the issue was sub judice and nothing could be said before all investigations had been completed.

From a preliminary management report for the EAAB for the year to end-March it appears that millions have been wasted by the institution.

The wastage includes the loss of a R1.28m deposit for a buildings agreement that was cancelled, the payment of R3m to Nomonde Mapetla, the fired former chief executive, and forensic audit fees of R1.06m.

The board has not yet reacted to the findings of the report, which it must do before July 25.

The report states that the wastage could have been prevented if proper control and procedures had been applied. It also recommends disciplining those who permitted the wastage.

Bill Rawson, founder and chair of Rawson Properties, believes that if further damage to the industry is to be avoided the minister should step in.

On Friday Sake24 was unable to get hold of a spokesperson in the human settlements department.

Rawson says the administration of the board leaves a lot to be desired and there is no communication between the institution and the industry.

“The industry is never involved in any decision-making.” He says because of the board’s ineptitude in issuing estate agents’ fidelity certificates in time, many agents are forced to work illegally.

The estate agent industry has been hard hit by the recession and the number of registered agents has declined from 96 000 in 2006 to about 32 000.

 - Sake24

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