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Two weeks after dissolving the embattled Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has appointed Cape Town attorney and former president of the Law Society in the Cape of Good Hope Taswell Papier as administrator of the board – and given him just six months to turn it around.
Announcing the appointment yesterday, Sexwale said Papier would be accountable to him and would assume a “dual role” of providing leadership and strategic management to the dysfunctional board and accounting authority.
Sexwale dissolved the board and placed it under administration on July 31, saying it was a “house in disorder” whose windows were “breaking from the inside”. Sexwale also called for a probe by the Special Investigating Unit.
His decision followed months of internal turbulence, during which several acting CEOs came and went.
This was after former CEO Nomonde Mapetla left under a cloud in March last year, as well as the suspension of the company secretary, Nkululeko Ndebele, and the resignation of the company chairwoman, Ina Wilken, and uncertainty over the board’s functioning.
It also came in the wake of a spate of high-profile scandals, including the Wendy Machanik and Auction Alliance sagas.
Sexwale said that the tenure of the administrator would be short-lived. In six months, Papier is expected to “implement appropriate turnaround strategies… to improve good corporate governance within the board; implement financial controls, systems and measures for prudent financial accountability and management; provide strategic leadership; ensure sustainability and organisational efficiency by implementing appropriate administrative and governance systems; and implement a strategic business plan and monitor its performance”. Papier would have to submit progress reports.
Papier’s previous positions include acting judge of the Western Cape High Court and member of the board of control of the Attorneys Fidelity Fund.
Sexwale said Papier was tasked with the responsibility to ensure that governance, transparency and accountability were restored at the EAAB.
“Investors are looking for certainty and stability,” Sexwale said. He stressed that the SIU would conduct its own, separate inquiry.
Papier said he was committed to making a contribution to “this critical entity”.