Human Settlements Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, says the new Property Practitioners Act (PPA) will only be able to achieve the desired outcome if it is driven by a stable and well-functioning regulatory authority.
Kubayi made the remarks during the launch of the Property Practitioner Regulatory Authority (PPRA), held in Sandton on Tuesday.
The launch of PPRA, which will replace the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), marks the coming into operation of the Property Practitioners Act, which is aimed at strengthening the regulatory aspect of the human settlements sector.
The new body’s main functions include, among others, to regulate the affairs of all property practitioners; to allow for transformation in the property sector; and to provide for consumer protection.
The Property Practitioners Act which governs PPRA came into effect on 1 February 2022.
The Act provides for among other things, the regulation of property practitioners; transformation of the property sector and continuation of the Estate Agents Fidelity Fund, as the Property Practitioners Fidelity Fund.
Kubayi said the Property Practioners Act, which the PPRA is anchored, is a consumer-focused piece of legislation that has been designed to protect consumers in the property industry.
“This is because the PPRA, in contrast to EAAB, will have more reaching power which include inspections without notice and more serious consequences for non-compliance. Over and above this, the new act is aimed at improving the functioning of the sector in general,” Kubayi said.
Most importantly, Kubayi said the new act will only be able to achieve the desired outcome “if it is driven by a stable and well-functioning regulatory authority.”
The Minister noted that when the Human Settlements Department came into the property, its priority was to stabilise the portfolio, both national department and the entities.
“We were and still are concerned about the negative media reports that were flooding the media about Human Settlements entities in which EAAB was not spared. It is for this reason that we prioritised the appointment of a new Board, whose top most important task was to stabilise the entity and ensure that the entity focuses on its primary mandate.
“I am delighted to report from industry bodies that they have noticed a positive change. This is a demonstration that the new Board has hit the ground running and has made such a tremendous progress in a short space of time,” Kubayi said.
She emphasised that all corporate governance principles, which include transparency, accountability, and security, need to be observed, so that an entity can function properly with a safe and healthy work environment in which the entity is best abled to achieve its mandate.
The Minister said she expects that the PPRA launch will assist in the process of turning a new leaf in the entity.
“I expect that individuals within the PPRA will act within a system of rules, policies, and practices that engender respect for one another and for the established structures of governance and how they function,” Kubayi said.
Transformation needed to heal divisions of the past
Meanwhile, Kubayi said the property practitioners’ subsector needs to be transformed so that the historically disadvantaged, especially women and people living with disabilities, can participate meaningfully.
“Property and property ownership is a very contentious issue in our country and has been a subject of very divisive debates. Given the history of our country, it stands to reason as to why the issue of property and property ownership is such an emotive issue. however, it is critical to understand that the debate and the practical transformation processes are a necessary step towards healing the divisions of the past,” she said.
On Transformation, the Act entails the following elements amongst others: