In Industry News

Courtesy: Danie Keet
Property Professional

The chaos in which the Property Practitioners Authority operates in the wake of mismanagement during the EAAB years, was further emphasised by the postponement of the 19 May PDE exam. The notice which was issued a mere 3 days before the exam, left property practitioners across the country upset and disappointed.

Mfundo Daki, Executive Manager: Education and Training at the PPRA, issued a statement affirming that, due to persistent concerns of some candidates who have not been able to secure study guides despite ordering them, the PDE exam  will now be conducted on 23 June 2022.

“This was done to ensure that all candidates registered for the examination are afforded an ample opportunity to acquire the necessary learning/study material to prepare for the exam. In addition to that, our/ service provider had capacity problems as the number of registered exam candidates was unusually high. The extension will allow the service provider to beef up its resources,“ Daki said in response to our enquiry.

The excuse offered about study guides seems to be an outright misrepresentation. Study guides have not been available since January last year. Daki is fully aware of that and never before postponed an exam because of this. Fact  is the system crashed because so many more practitioners enrolled for this exam than ever before, and the system could not accommodate the demand. It appears that the service provider was not paid by the EAAB and was never contracted to manage these large volumes. Information from the service provider confirms this.

“Daki  had every reason to expect bigger numbers in view of the 30 June deadline for interns to qualify and certainly knew this long before eventually postponing the exam. He also failed to register those who applied manually after the system failed. Seat numbers (access) could not be allocated,” said Jan le Roux, CE of Rebosa.

“The PPRA Board and its executive is trying extremely hard to address several challenges emanating  from the previous regime. Remnants from the past keep hampering progress. Those responsible for this most unfortunate occurrence should be held to account,” says Le Roux.

Jonny Novick, CEO of Vered Estate said: “Besides displaying gross inefficiency, it is disrespectful of the approximately 1,600 people that have taken the time and effort to prepare for the exam. One should not underestimate the pressure of preparation – we all know how difficult it is to continue business, run a home, look after a family, and then get back into study mode. Practically, I must ask why the candidates who were prepared were not able to write as planned. It is baffling that postponement was the preferred solution. I’m wondering how one motivates anyone to study for and write an exam that is obviously not taken seriously by the very Authority that prescribes that it be written in the first place.”

An agent from Rawson Group paid for study guides on 18 January 2021 and had still not received them for the 2021 May, August, or November PDE Exams. This agent is finally enrolled for the exam on 19 May this year. Despite appeals and countless emails between PPRA education, Rebosa and the agent the exams went ahead last year.

A property practitioner from Bellville said she could not believe that the exams were postponed.

“And it is not only me. Two colleagues have registered and paid their fees before I did mine, but still have not even received allocation to attend the exams. I am going ahead with my preparations for the examination, even though I have not received any indication if my application has been received or accepted. Everything is uncertain – even the trial exams that were due to be held on 16 May, did not materialise,” she said.

Andrew Golding, MD of Pam Golding Properties, said they had to especially move an entire national  awards event to accommodate the 19 May date. Now the date of 23 June clashes with an overseas incentive event which is impossible to change at this stage.

Bryan Biehler, Director of Huizemark, said it could be suggested that they can offer a second option or supplementary exam a week or two later, for those unfortunate candidates who have not had access to study material.

“These ‘authoritarian’ decisions are being made with very little understanding or insight of our industry. An engagement with the stakeholders, prior to making these sweeping statements or decisions, could avoid the negativity directed at them,” he stated.

Daki also said: “The PPRA is working on a solution with a service provider to develop a pin-code controlled access to the study guide to ensure that there is easy but controlled access to the study material in order that the institution does not lose revenue.”

His concern to safeguard revenue, especially under these circumstances, is worrying.

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