The South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) applauded with some caution the remaking of the board of the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC).
The minister of human settlement Tokyo Sexwale announced a new board following gross financial irregularities which took place under the eye of the disbanded board.
Members of the new board include Brenda Madumise who serves as chairperson, Itumeleng Kotsoane, Suping Hlahane, Xoliswa Daku, Zimbini Vazi, Busisiwe Nzo, Shoayb Loonat, Sibusiso Ngwenya, Salaminah Maja and Goolam Manack.
SAPOA CEO, Neil Gopal said “The commercial property sector welcomes Sexwale’s decisiveness in dealing with the almost collapsed governance structure of the dysfunctional NHBRC and its waning, if not lost, integrity. The sector has been left at the mercy of this ineffective and inefficient body for too long.” He said that the Minister’s announcing of the new NHBRC board clearly demonstrated his lack of confidence in the previous board, since more than 90% of its members were not re-appointed.
He said the property industry’s pivotal role in the economy of South Africa cannot be downplayed, nor can the debilitating effects that have been felt by this sector as a result of the economic downturn. In recent years the property sector has had to endure the passing of pervasive and stringent legislation. This has seriously affected the income and profits of businesses that find it difficult to be enduringly sustainable.
“Property developers and builders require the NHBRC to adapt to changing economic, environmental and societal needs. It is a reasonable expectation from this sector that the new board ensures that South Africa has an internationally acknowledged regulatory body that is cognisant of the role of home builders and developers within the economic cycle, without losing sight of consumer protection,” said Gopal.
“SAPOA thus hopes that the new board will begin to address the important issues and that it will finally regard property developers as significant role players in the industry. South Africa cannot afford for housing consumers and developers to be apologetic and complacent about an inefficient regulatory authority in a competitive housing and business market that is struggling to recover”.
SAPOA hopes that the decisive actions of the minister will result in a new NHBRC board of directors that is cognisant of the difficulties in the real estate sector and that understands that if these difficulties are not resolved, they could well bring the industry to its knees.
SAPOA also hopes that the move signals a ‘new dawn’ for the sector in which those who are appointed to lead it will make every effort to bring back integrity and proper governance. It is important to re-engineer methods for protecting consumers but it is equally important to understand the business environment in which the industry operates.
“It is ‘business unusual’ for the property sector as much as any other sector,” points out Gopal. “A visionary leadership is required for this industry and the greatest challenge for the NHBRC is to regain the respect and trust from the sector that it regulates. It is not only a fundamental priority, but it is pinned on the hopes that Minister Sexwale’s actions will not have been taken in vain. We hope that the apathy that threatens to stifle the industry will be overturned.” He concludes: “The NHBRC remains a critical stakeholder for SAPOA and it is in our interests to see it overcoming its challenges – but soon.”