The announcement by Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale yesterday of the new members of the board of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), the statutory consumer protection body of the property industry, will hopefully bring stability to both the regulator and the industry.
Sexwale dissolved the EAAB board last year and placed it under administration while also enlisting the Special Investigating Unit to conduct a full probe into the board’s affairs.
This followed chaos at the EAAB with officials being reshuffled and former acting chief executive Bryan Chaplog being reappointed to this post after previously being relieved of this duty, company secretary Nkululeko Ndebele being suspended, and EAAB chairman and consumer activist Ina Wilken resigning.
The EAAB was also placed in the spotlight in the investigation and criminal case brought against estate agency executive Wendy Machanik, the revelations about the sham property auctions conducted by Auction Alliance, and the packages paid to former chief executive Nomonde Mapetla and other former senior managers.
It remains to be seen whether the new board has the knowledge and willpower to sort out the mess at the EAAB, which has been criticised over many years for its inability to provide estate agents with fidelity fund certificates on time.
These certificates are licences that allow about 40 000 registered estate agents to operate legally and provide comfort to the public that they are protected and insured against any illegal acts by estate agents.
Sexwale admitted the tasks facing the new board were challenging, but said they could also be exciting. He added that the litmus test of the success of the new board would be premised on good governance, the integrity of its processes, the credibility of its decisions, transparency and constant interaction with EAAB members for the public good. After all, said Sexwale, this was about accumulated incomes, investments and assets of citizens.
Like Sexwale, we wish the new board members well in their duties, particularly as their conduct and actions will determine how quickly they are able to repair the tainted image of the EAAB.
In spite of difficulties that have caused some airlines to go out of business and others to amalgamate, the international airline industry is growing fast.
Tony Tyler, the director-general and chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (Iata), pointed out this week that the number of international passengers has almost doubled since 2001 to more than 3 billion this year.
Conditions for SAA have been difficult because it is a long haul from its main markets and it competes with airlines whose incomes are in stronger currencies than the rand. But we should not lose sight of the fact that, operationally, it is a good airline with one of the best safety records.
And, if acting chief executive Nico Bezuidenhout is to be believed, big changes are on the way. The airline industry in Africa is growing particularly fast as some countries are becoming more prosperous with a growing middle class.
London-registered Fastjet, which hopes to buy 1time out of provisional liquidation and add Johannesburg to its growing list of destinations, reported yesterday that it achieved average passenger loads of 81 percent on its African flights.
The latest Iata figures show that Middle Eastern airlines, which are increasingly flying into Africa, achieved the second-highest passenger loads in the world. Iata economists suggest this is because their networks serve emerging markets.
In view of this, about 4 000 pupils from Cape Town schools who attended a careers exhibition organised by Mango, SAA’s low-cost division, in the city last week are almost certainly on the right track.
The disorder that broke out last year among workers of various formations, including unions on the platinum mines where violence in support of unprotected strikes led to the killing of 34 men by police officers, shows no sign of abating.
The latest outbreak is in Mpumalanga where unprotected strikes by coal miners at two Exxaro mines could threaten coal supplies to Eskom power stations.
National Union of Mineworkers members have downed tools and are “demanding” the payment of production bonuses that have been paid consistently over recent years. The one fact that the demands overlook is that last year neither the mines nor the workers achieved the agreed performance targets specified to earn (such an outdated concept) the reward (something given for a service rendered) of a bonus (something given above what is due). Just what is it that these so-called workers don’t understand?
Employees were regularly kept informed of performance levels and bonus payments, Mxolisi Mgojo, Exxaro’s executive general manager for coal, said yesterday. But was anybody listening?
And far away at Medupi, Eskom’s R91 billion project, efforts to get the mega coal-fired power station producing power by December are running into trouble.
ANC-linked Hitachi Africa has handed in sub-standard work on some of the thousands of welds used to hold together the plant’s high-pressure boilers.
At least Hitachi says it is taking responsibility for the problem, one that should never have occurred in the first place.
And that’s an example the striking members of unions could learn from. An essential “demand” that kept them from returning to work until yesterday’s agreement, after strikes and stoppages that started in September, is that the company must withdraw attempts to discipline workers who were involved in criminal public violence.
Marikana, De Doorns, Standerton, Mpumalanga and Medupi. The list grows.
Edited by Peter DeIonno. With contributions from Roy Cokayne, Audrey D’Angelo and Peter DeIonno.