Roy Cokayne

The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), the statutory consumer protection body of the property industry, has launched a programme to fast-track the transformation of the residential property sector.

Only 10 percent of the 40 000 estate agents registered with the EAAB were black and this patent lack of meaningful transformation in the real estate sector could no longer be tolerated, Human Settlements Minister Connie September warned yesterday at the launch of the “One Learner – One Estate Agency” programme.

September said the department was targeting 10 000 new entrants to the sector over a period of three years, starting this month and terminating on March 31, 2017.

“Conservatively, this implies that just over 3 300 new entrants will be required to be recruited to the sector in each of these years, made up… [of] both graduates and school-leavers.

“If the entire industry takes up the transformation imperative, then 10 000 new entrants would be incorporated into the sector within the next 36 months,” she said.

September said that despite 20 years of democracy, it was an unfortunate reality that the estate agency sector remained characterised by an acute under-representation of formerly disadvantaged people and was still overwhelmingly skewed in favour of white participants.

She added that the industry remained untransformed despite the consistent endeavours of the EAAB to inculcate awareness among industry role-players of the imperative of transformation.

September said the implementation of this programme by the EAAB constituted an effective means to expedite the speedy transformation of the real estate sector so it accorded with the demographics of a democratic South Africa, with particular reference to the increased participation of women, the youth and physically disabled persons.

By implementing the programme, the board was seeking to successfully create an enabling environment that would encourage new entrants to the sector and ensure the implementation and monitoring of appropriate systems and support structures to facilitate, consolidate and enhance the real estate knowledge, skills base and competencies of the targeted new entrants, the minister said.

Within the real estate sector, the programme would also seek to effectively transfer knowledge, skills and competencies; significantly enhance both job creation and economic transformation; and create and maintain a platform to support the Human Settlements Department in achieving its housing goals and economic developmental objectives.

September said the campaign would ideally serve as a major contributor in achieving the transformation goals and objectives that had already been articulated by the property sector transformation charter, which had been gazetted in terms of the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act.

“This will exponentially widen the scope of active participation by all sections of previously disadvantaged persons within the real estate sector in general and the immovable property market in particular.

“As an important contributor to the success of this programme, about 20 estate agency enterprises have already pledged their support to the initiative through the adoption of learners,” she said.