THE embattled Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), which has had three acting CEOs since Nomonde Mapetla left more than a year ago, is finally getting much-needed attention from the Department of Human Settlements.

In May, the regulatory body for the real estate industry was moved from the Department of Trade and Industry to human settlements, which now constitutes its executive authority.

In an effort to explore intervention measures with a view to addressing governance problems at the EAAB, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale will today host a breakfast for the board in Sandton.

Mr Sexwale's move to address the EAAB is seen as positive for the real estate industry, which contributes about 15% of gross domestic product and is seen as important to the economy.

The body has had difficulty ensuring that estate agents operating in SA's property market comply with the legislation governing their profession.

The EAAB has come under the spotlight for its poor service levels and because of numerous complaints from the property industry, which include reports of estate agents operating without the mandatory fidelity fund certificates, the board not investigating complaints and failing to guide the sector.

There have been so many legislative changes in the industry, from education, financial intelligence, compliance and company law as well as the new Property Charter, and the transformation code for the property sector, that the industry is seeking guidance from the leaderless board.

This month alone, the board's recently appointed chairwoman, Ina Wilken, resigned after succeeding Thami Bolani, and former acting CEO Bryan Chaplog was removed by the board, but the EAAB said Ms Wilken's departure was part of a rotation of the office of the acting CEO. Mr Chaplog, who had been acting CEO for a few months, resumed the position of chief financial officer and was replaced by Clive Ashpol, the executive manager for education and training.

Attempts to get comment from the EAAB were unsuccessful.

Pam Golding Property group CEO Andrew Golding said yesterday: "Obviously it is in the property industry's best interests for there to be a stable and efficient regulator. I am not privy to the inner workings of the EAAB, and it is hoped that under the guidance of the Department of Human Settlements that minister Sexwale and his colleagues will ensure that any and all important matters are dealt with."

mokopanelet@bdfm.co.za