SA Property Industry - The Establishment of the Multi-Stakeholder Group

The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) is gratified to announce the successful establishment of a Multi-Stakeholder Group comprising both itself and estate agency sector representative organisations.

The underlying objective in creating the Multi- Stakeholder Group, which meets on a monthly basis, is to identify, discuss and, of course, hopefully resolve the many pertinent concerns, issues and challenges which members of the estate agency profession, in its many differentiated spheres, generally encounter. Due to the activities of the Multi-Stakeholder Group significant successes in this respect have already been achieved.

The Multi-Stakeholder Group presently comprises representatives at the highest level of:

  • the EAAB – http://www.eaab.org.za;
  • the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa (IEASA) – http://www.ieasa.co.za;
  • the National Association of Managing Agents (NAMA) – http://www.nama.org.za;
  • the National Property Forum (NPF) – http://www.npfsa.co.za;
  • the Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA) - http://www.rebosa.co.za;
  • the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) – http://www.sapoa.org.za.
  • the South African Institute of Auctineers (SAIA)

As and when other accredited estate agency sector representative organisations are identified they will also be invited to join the Multi-Stakeholder Group and to participate in its deliberations.

Due to the flexible and effective, yet formalised, constitution and functioning of the Multi-Stakeholder Group, practicing professional estate agency practitioners can rest assured that the problems and issues which they daily confront in an evolving and frequently volatile real estate environment will not only receive attention at the highest level but also be suitably addressed in the interests of both the estate agency profession and the consumers that the profession serves. Constituents of the Multi-Stakeholder Group organisations are urged to draw any matters affecting the interests of the real estate sector to the attention of the relevant organisation to ensure that such matters can be suitably addressed by the Multi-Stakeholder Group.

Issued jointly by: The Estate Agency Affairs Board and the Multi-Stakeholder Group

TERMS OF REFERENCE

1. Introduction

The Terms of Reference (ToR) define the scope and functions of the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG).

The MSG was established following discussions between the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements and the Chairperson of the EAAB when it was agreed that the EAAB would develop a platform for consultation with stakeholders in the property industry regarding matters of mutual interest and concern.

2. Purpose

The aim of the MSG is to bring stakeholders in the property industry together. The MSG will, thus, comprise the EAAB and representatives of each identified stakeholder group.

3. Objectives

The objectives of the MSG are:

3.1 To discuss issues affecting principal and non-principal estate agents operating in the property industry; To discuss, and make recommendations on, any matter involving an alteration in the mandate, terms of reference, membership, or structure of the MSG;

3.2 To discuss, and make recommendations on, any other issues that constituent members of the MSG consider to be of importance to the MSG;

3.3 To establish and maintain open communication channels with all stakeholders within the property industry; To regularly review and, where necessary, recommend appropriate actions to increase the effectiveness of the MSG;

3.4 To act as the point of contact for members and member agencies wishing to bring matters to the attention of the MSG; and

3.5 To consult on transformation issues in the industry as a matter of urgency.

4. Proposed Composition of the MSG

The MSG will comprise the following industry stakeholders:-

EAAB CEO of the EAAB Officers and/or Executives as deemed necessary by the CEO

REBOSA 2 Representatives

NPF 2 Representatives

IEASA 2 Representatives

SAPOA 2 Representatives

NAMA 2 Representatives

SAIA 2 Representatives

SABBA 2 Representatives

Other representative bodies to be added.

The Chairperson of the EAAB Board, and/or a member of the EAAB Board delegated by the Chairperson to do so, may attend all meetings of the MSG by invitation.

5. Meeting Arrangements and Logistics

5.1 MSG meetings will be held at least quarterly or more frequently if this is warranted.

5.2 Attendance at MSG meetings by telephone or through Skype is permitted for representatives of constituent MSG members who are unable to attend in person.

5.3 The EAAB will perform secretarial functions at MSG meetings.

5.4 All minutes and outputs from the MSG meetings will be made available to MSG members within 7 working days after the date of the meeting.

6. Funding of the MSG

6.1 Individual representatives of the constituent MSG members are themselves responsible for any costs incurred in attending MSG meetings.

7. Timeframe for the Work

The initial term of the MSG shall be a period of 24 months, commencing as and from the date of the first meeting of the MSG, following which the position will be reviewed to determine whether there is a need to continue the work of the MSG. Each constituent member of the MSG may, however, terminate membership of the MSG by giving one calendar month’s written notice of such intention to terminate, which written notice shall be addressed to, and received by, the Chief Executive Officer of the EAAB.

The Multi-Stakeholder Group and the regulated estate agency profession

It is self-evident that the regulated estate agency profession is a volatile and ever-changing one which has an intrinsically high degree of complexity. Bearing these factors in mind the EAAB, as both the statutory regulator and SAQA-recognised professional body of the estate agency profession, is convinced that, by working together with all recognised sector stakeholders through a Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG), a golden opportunity is thereby created not only to promote transparency but also to reflect trust and accountability within the profession. An expressed aim of the MSG is, therefore, to being stakeholders in the property industry together. The MSG, thus, comprises the EAAB and representatives of each identified industry stakeholder group/body.

The objectives of the MSG

The objectives of the MSG, as stipulated in its Terms of Reference, are to:

  • discuss issues affecting principal and non-principal estate agents operating in the property industry;
  • discuss, and make recommendations on, any other issues that constituent members of the MSG consider to be of importance to the MSG;
  • establish and maintain open communication channels with all stakeholders within the property industry;
  • regularly review and, where necessary, recommend appropriate actions to increase the effectiveness of the MSG;
  • act as the point of contact for members and member agencies wishing to bring matters to the attention of the MSG; and
  • consult on transformation issues in the industry as a matter of urgency.

The constituent members of the MSG

The initially identified, and founding, constituent members of the MSG were, accordingly:

  • the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB);
  • the National Property Forum (NPF);
  • the Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA);
  • the Institute of Estate Agency of South Africa (IEASA);
  • the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA); and
  • the National Association of Managing Agents (NAMA).

The MSG was, subsequently, extended by the inclusion of:

  • the South African Institute of Auctioneers (SAIA); and
  • the International Business Broking Association of South Africa (IBBASA).

As any additional sector representative bodies are identified they will be invited to join the MSG.

The MSG and mutual collaboration within the profession

It goes without saying that each of the stakeholders presently participating within the MSG have unequivocally demonstrated not only an interest in but also a commitment to promoting the success of this ground-breaking initiative in the estate agency profession. Each constituent participant has been able successfully to bring their own unique sets of interests, knowledge, capacity and competency to the MSG and this mutual collaboration has enabled the MSG to identify and address many of the practical challenges that presently face the profession including, more specifically, such pressing issues as:

  • cooperating to eliminate the scourge of racism, in all its virulent forms, from the sector;
  • the improvement of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme introduced by the EAAB in 2015;
  • the rapid transformation of the sector so as more meaningfully to reflect the demographics of a democratic South Africa in terms of race, gender, age and people with disability;
  • the resolution of any administrative challenges that might be experienced by the EAAB; and
  • apprising members of progress made with the Property Practitioners Bill which is intended to replace the current Estate Agency Affairs Act.

Consensus has largely been achieved in all these areas.

The MSG as the institutionalised link between the estate agency profession and the EAAB

The constituent members of the MSG have also made a valuable and much appreciated contribution towards enabling the EAAB to gain a better and clearer understanding of the workings of the various differentiated sectors essentially comprising the estate agency profession. The work of the MSG has undoubtedly contributed towards the generally acceptance by the estate agency sector of the role played by the EAAB as the statutory regulator and professional body while the MSG, for its part, also serves as welcome institutionalised link between the representatives of members of the estate agency profession and the EAAB. Since the formation of the MSG it has become increasingly apparent that the collective interest and capacity of its constituent members has, by far, surpassed that of individual stakeholders acting by themselves. This fact, in itself, lends much value to the workings of the MSG

Possible weaknesses within the MSG addressed

As the MSG is entirely aware that its activities could be potentially weakened as a result of, for instance, such factors as possible conflicts of interest and the necessity to achieve consensus on key decisions, every effort has been made to address and accommodate these specific areas. Agreed MSG initiatives have, thus far, been able fully to utilise the manifest advantages of the grouping while simultaneously mitigating possible weaknesses in its structure.

The MSG has a means of promoting understanding and dialogue

This goodwill generated among MSG participants has ensured that it will continue to be used as an effective means of not only promoting understanding and dialogue but also achieving, and building further on, consensus as the MSG considers matters of mutual interest and importance to the sector. The various constituent sector stakeholders have, through the mechanism of the MSG, been brought together in such a way that ensuing discussions and dialogue ensure that all sector participants achieve a better understanding and appreciation of their sometimes differing perspectives and experiences.

Finding common ground with the statutory regulator

The MSG, in conclusion, has been instrumental in finding common ground among its constituent members while agreed solutions to shared challenges have been identified. Constituent members of the MSG have, moreover, reached consensus that, while the EAAB remains the statutory regulator of the estate agency profession, any recommendations made by the MSG on issues of importance to the group will receive the due attention of the EAAB. 

The MSG harmoniously discharging its functions

The MSG will proceed conscientiously to discharge its functions harmoniously and with due regard to the interests of the consumers which the property sector serves. The initial term of the MSG is expressed to be a period of 24 months as from the date of its first meeting in 2015 from which time the grouping has met on a monthly basis. After the expiry of the initial twentyfour month period it is intended that the position will be reviewed to determine whether there is still a need to continue the work of the MSG. The answer to this query is likely to be a resounding “Yes”.

Courtesy: The Agent - Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB)

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