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By Vivian Warby – Property360
Apr 24, 2020

The historic National Property Practitioners Council (NPPC) has come to life in the sector’s darkest hour in history –  amid a total lockdown and an industry suffocating in restrictions, its tens of thousands of members unable to earn a living,
The timing of this epic joining together of the real estate sector – devoid of the constraints of self-interest by any particular part of the industry, to act as an all-sectors representative – is perfect.
One its first points of order has been to go straight into battle for its members to argue for the industry’s relief by appealing to the Regulator and government during lockdown to see it as an essential service.
“Like other industries we are not immune to disruption and world events, however the high proportion of commission earners in our industry does make us particularly vulnerable as practitioners are not eligible for UIF payments and the various other SMME subsidies available, says its first chairperson Vuyiswa Mutshekwane, current CEO of the South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP) 
While the Corona crisis speeded up its birth, Mutshekwane says the seeds were in fact planted after the Property Practitioners Act called for its formation. Its first meeting to flesh out details was held in January.
Mutshekwane, smart, sassy, astute is just the type of person you want leading a legion that represents the interests of more than 40 000 agents, brokers, professionals, consultants, developers, managing agents, auctioneers and financing institutions falling within the Property Professionals Act’s (PPA) ambit.
“This is not going to be a bloated council,” Mutshekwane is determined.
“We are not here to replace the important industry bodies that deal with the micro issues of their groupings – they will remain a voice for their constituencies and work on their specific issues – instead we are here to represent the broader issues.”
Added to that annual fees paid by the member bodies is minimal – more like a token fee.
Mutshekwane explains that the Property Practitioners Act late 2019 called for the creation of this “multi-stakeholder platform that would be fully representative of industry”.
Prior to this, she says the industry had always been somewhat disjointed and siloed with each interest group represented by different organisations.
This new council now provides an opportunity ‘to be more impactful by aligning industry views and enhancing communication with the regulator and the various government departments and stakeholders’.
What is exciting, she says, is that for the first time “we have a door open to places such as the SA Property Owners Association, the National Association of Managing Agents and also auctioneers. We recognise industry needs to give united feedback to support the regulator and policy-makers.”.
She says the current Covd-19 crisis “certainly fast tracked the need for the establishment of the council. When Corona happened, it further highlighted the need for a consolidated industry voice”
To date, the council has already been busy with calling for the lifting of certain lockdown restrictions to get the industry moving again.
She is quick to add that the NPPC is not some pipe dream – “it is a formal process brought about by the new Act. We need to – and more importantly – we want to make it work.”
Mutshekwane says discussions around the table with the different bodies has been interesting, and what keeps it balanced is that “we have equal representation and equal decision making representation – we are determined to drive co-operation and be a voice of unity. We may have differences but we will act collectively.
“What’s clear is it cannot be business as usual.
“We have to take informed decisions in order to future proof this industry.
“These are still early days – this council is the first step in the journey of what sustainable transformation will look like for our industry and how we bring all members of our value chain together.
“The formation of the NPPC is forward orientated. but We don’t know what the future will be. What we do know however is doing it together is the best approach.”.
This astute businesswoman and property icon says being elected as chairman is “a big responsibility” – what is propelling her however is that there is a “unity  of vision and purpose and strong support from industry. We are having discussions – some more difficult as the issues are complex – but we are having them and we all want it to work.”
Also on the NPPC agenda is 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.
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 South African Business Broking Association (SABBA).
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