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Racism suffocating people of colour within the Cape Town property sector

On Tuesday, businessman Zola Mekula spoke about his ordeal with racism at the first public hearings into racism in the property sector. Picture/Video: Ian Landsberg African News Agency (ANA)

On Tuesday, businessman Zola Mekula spoke about his ordeal with racism at the first public hearings into racism in the property sector. Picture/Video: Ian Landsberg African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 24, 2022

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Cape Town - At a public meeting to probe racism in the Western Cape’s property sector, slammed the event’s organisers – the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority (PPRA) – and said its failures had hindered the industry’s transformation.

Wednesday’s meeting was attended by those in the property industry.

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Formerly the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), the PPRA’s event started its nationwide hearings at the Lagoon Beach Hotel in Milnerton.

The PPRA initiated the hearings following several complaints, as well as an investigation undertaken as a result of a complaint lodged against a Cape Town estate agent.

PPRA CEO Mamodupi Mohlala said complaints vary from people not being given access to property/premises, whether residential or commercial, to the treatment of employees within property agencies and organisations.

“They spoke about the manner of treatment that they’ve received within these entities, which could be categorised as racist or being discriminated against. They talk about issues around the allocation of mandates and the allocation of areas in terms of which they will work,” Mohlala said.

Zolam Properties owner Zola Mekula criticised the poor attendance, and said any gatherings within the sector drew a large crowd of mostly white people; however, this did not.

“We have never had a gathering of the industry that was attended so poorly. I am so disappointed that the people who I feel are also contributing to what we are talking about, they are not here.”

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Estate agent George Taylor lodged a complaint in 2020 and said he received no constructive response from the PPRA until reaching out to the CEO last week.

“You guys are failing us dismally. It's not what is on paper, we need to be enforcing what is on paper. If you guys are not going to enforce and make things right, this industry will not come right. It is in your power to assist us to make this industry better, so everyone can eat of the pie and not of the crumbs. Let us prosecute because there is enough evidence,” said Taylor.

PPRA Inspections executive manager Dineo Mphahlele said: “And that is why we’re going throughout the country and making sure that these submissions are actually presented to Parliament to influence legislation.

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“We must have cases where there is criminal prosecution to set an example. For such cases, we have very few. For us to be able to make a stand, is that all these cases can be taken for criminal prosecutions.”

Mphahlele said EAAB, in terms of the old legislation, could not handle matters between estate agents, but now the PPRA makes provision for complaints from estate agents.

Further hearings will take place in Durban and Johannesburg this week.

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