In cleaning up its act, the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) has declared a three-month amnesty period for agents operating illegally as it looks to expedite the issuing of fidelity fund certificates and probe misconduct among the regulatory board’s officers.
EAAB chairman Thami Bolani said yesterday there were close to 10 000 practitioners operating in the industry without the fidelity fund certificates that are required by the Estate Agency Affairs Act.
The amnesty period runs from April 15 to July 15.
Bolani said agents seeking amnesty would have to submit affidavits in which “honest disclosure is made of all estate agency activities that were undertaken when applicants were not authorised to perform the functions and activities of an estate agent”.
Bolani said that there were certificates in the EAAB’s offices that had not been posted due to officials not performing their duties. “Someone has not performed, and they are responsible for certificates which have not been delivered.”
He said an investigation was under way, adding that some people had been expelled from the agency for misconduct.
“We will be guided by the outcome of the investigation. Proper processes must be followed so we cannot go on a witch hunt,” he said.
According to section 26 of the Estate Agency Affairs Act, operators are allowed to practise as estate agents only once a valid fidelity certificate has been issued.
It is a statutory offence to practise without a fidelity fund certificate and such operators are not entitled to any remuneration for estate agency services rendered.
The EAAB also said it hoped to establish estate agencies in townships and rural areas, and would utilise the amnesty period to expedite the granting of certificates to facilitate training and qualification.
“If amnesty is granted to applicants they will be given a reasonable time to get their estate agency affairs in order and reassured that no disciplinary steps will be taken against them arising from any previous non-compliance with the provisions of the act.”
The granting of amnesty would be on the condition that applicants made an honest disclosure, in an affidavit, and they must not have been involved in illegal activities such as siphoning money from their trust fund. - Business Report