Economic relief during the Covid-19 pandemic is the first order of business for the newly-formed council of the broader property sector, the National Property Practitioners Council (NPPC) that will represent the sector going forward on issues connected with the property industry.
For the first time in the history of the South African real estate sector, representative bodies have come together to form a unified national council, devoid of the constraints of self-interest by any particular sector of the industry, to act as the national industry representative body in all matters pertaining to the sector.
The founding members of the NPPC are: South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP), South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA), Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA), National Property Forum (NPF), National Association of Managing Agents (NAMA), Institute of Certified Business Brokers, South African Institute of Auctioneers (SAIA), Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa (IEASA) and the South African Business Broking Association (SABBA).
Chaired by Vuyiswa Mutshekwane, current CEO of the SAIBPP, and with the support of leading industry stalwarts Jan le Roux (Rebosa), Neil Gopal (SAPOA), Coenie Groenewald (NAMA), Leo Mlambo (NPF), Mike Hindle (Institute Certified Business Brokers); Bill Hartard (SAIA); Edgar Blomeyer (IEASA) and Ferdie van Greunen (SABBA), the ‘council’ is assured of the requisite skills and institutional knowledge to best represent the sector at national and government level.
“A national consolidated voice in the property sector has been long overdue. However, the catalyst for the establishment of the NPPC was the promulgation of the Property Practitioners Act which now brings various role players in industry together under a single Act and regulation. There is therefore now a greater need for coordination and collaboration amongst industry stakeholders and representatives,” says Mutshekwane.
Priority Covid-19 business relief
The first order of business for the new ‘council’ was to address the economic impact of Covid-19 on the sector and to pursue relief measures to mitigate some of the challenges. An appeal was sent by the NPPC to government to relax certain lockdown restrictions to ensure the continuation of the sectors economic supply chain. The proposed interventions include opening the Deeds Office with a skeleton staff to register properties and a call for local councils to issue rates clearance certificates.
Numerous other affected organisations representing the legal fraternity, valuers, mortgage origination industry etc also sent appeals in this regard to government. According to Mutshekwane they’ve only had confirmation that their appeals have been received, but she was optimistic that President Cyril Ramaphosa would address some of the proposals in his address to the nation on Thursday.
In other countries such as the USA estate agency services have been declared an essential service. Asked whether the NPPC also appealed regarding the same for South Africa, Mutshekwane said the health and safety of all practitioners is the priority of the NPPC. That is why they proposed the re-opening of the Deeds Office with a skeleton staff and for municipalities to prioritise issuing of rate clearance certificates. This would expedite the process of issuing commission to estate agents dependent on commission as income and also benefit other property-related professionals such as conveyancers, bond brokers etc.
Mutshekwane added that the industry regulator, the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), has also been approached to waive certain fees and penalties. This include the waiver of all CPD fees for 2020, the extension of the audit submission deadline and a payment holiday for all agents in arrears with exam fees and fines until February 2021.
In addition to the above, the NPPC is also currently in discussions about additional relief measures that could be implemented. “However, we remain hopeful that Cabinet and President Cyril Ramaphosa will take into consideration the very real and imminent threat to the economy and the property sector in the announcement of further regulations,” says Mutshekwane.
Also a high priority on the NPPC agenda are the draft regulations which will give effect to the new Property Practitioners Act; fast-tracking transformation initiatives; addressing industry growth opportunities and streamlining and building relations between the industry, government and all relevant stakeholders. The NPPC also aims to work closely with the regulatory authority to facilitate industry-wide consultation going forward.