The EAAB at long last broke its silence over the Gauteng High Court judgement in respect of the urgent court application brought by Rebosa to compel the regulator to comply with its mandatory duty to issue outstanding Fidelity Fund certificates (FFCs).
In an emailed statement on Monday 22 March the EAAB basically exonerated themselves from any blame. They said their legal team is studying the judgement to determine their next course of action.
While the EAAB says they acknowledge the importance of timeously issued FFCs for the livelihood of estate agents, there is no acknowledgement of any wrongdoing by the regulator. Instead, mention is made that Rebosa brought the court application “for some 832 outstanding FFCs in relation to the more than 35 000 that the EAAB had already successfully issued”. The only explanation offered for the late FFCs is to put blame on the estate agents for submitting incomplete documentation or duplication of applications. There is no acknowledgement of the possible role played by the EAAB’s outdated systems although in the court application this aspect is highlighted as the main cause for the annual crisis with an FFC backlog.
During the hearing in the Gauteng High Court similar excuses by the EAAB CEO Mamodupi Mohlala failed to convince Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane who found that the EAAB had failed to present reliable evidence why the entity had not yet issued FFCs to the affected estate agents and agencies.
In fact, she agreed to a punitive cost order against the EAAB saying that “the EAAB’s sustained breach of its statutory duties and its failure to acknowledge any wrong is a sufficient basis to justify an order of costs on the scale as between attorney and client”.
What is further missing is an apology to the affected estate agents. A restated assurance that the EAAB is working to get their technology up to date to meet present day demands before the next round of FFC renewals would not have been amiss either. This would have gone a long way to boost confidence in the sincerity of the EAAB’s stated commitment to ensuring that every legitimate FFC applicant can get his or her certificate in time and is able to operate.
The EAAB ends with saying it remains committed to continue its working relationship with Rebosa that includes weekly stakeholder meetings where such issues can be tabled and resolved.
Commenting on the EAAB’s reaction, Rebosa CEO Jan le Roux says: “I remain astounded at the attitude of the EAAB. All Rebosa asked for and got in a court of law was that the EAAB comply with its mandate to issue certificates timeously. To defend an action when all one is asked to do is one’s job makes no sense, in addition to boast about 35,000 certificates issued (by mid-March!) when no mention is made of the potential 51,000 (yes, another 16 000 probably are outstanding) is simply disingenuous. The statement of the EAAB is contradicted by the courts decision.” Read the full judgement by clicking here.
EAAB closed again over Covid-scare
The Sandton office of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) is once again closed for a ‘deep cleansing’ following another Covid-19 scare. The regulator explained in another statement that this decision follows after the Board was made aware on Monday 22 March that an employee of one of their service providers had tested positive for Covid-19. The offices are closed and will be ‘deep cleansed’ while all EAAB personnel that could possibly have had contact with the infected person will be traced and sent for Covid-19 testing.
As during the previous office closures EAAB staff will continue working from home and can be reached via email. Last year there were plenty of complaints that some of the supplied email addresses didn’t work despite the assurances of the CEO that they are functional with a 48-hour response time.
With mounting concerns about a possible third Covid-infection wave after Easter, one can only hope the industry is not in for a repeat non-performance. We would love to hear from you about your experience of the EAAB’s remote working system via comments on this article or email firstname.lastname@example.org.