Two ailing entities in the national Department of Human Settlements – the Community Schemes Ombud Services (CSOS) and the Estate Agency Affairs Boad (EAAB) – have raised the ire of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Settlements with a view being expressed that the organisations urgently need a turnaround plan to prevent their “total collapse”.
The human settlement committee indicated general satisfaction with the department and eight entities that came under scrutiny over two days, except that an urgent turnaround plan was needed “to intervene to save the institutions from total collapse” – the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) and Community Schemes Ombud Services (CSOS) – according to one statement. – Daily Maverick
The parliamentary committee has instructed the acting leadership of the Community Schemes Ombud Services (CSOS) to return to Parliament within six weeks to present a turnaround strategy. The CSOS acting leadership was not able to answer the committee’s questions because they were only recently appointed in their acting roles following the suspension in September of Chief Ombud Adv. Seeng Letele and Chief Financial Officer, Themba Mabuya.
Their suspension follows the unauthorised placing of R80m of CSOS funds with the failed VBS Bank, and various other allegations of misconduct.
Ms Ndivhuo Rabuli, the current Executive for Governance, Compliance and Enforcement is the Acting Chief Ombud and current financial manager, Mr Nathi Dube, is the Acting Chief Financial Officer. At the time of the alleged offences neither official had been appointed in their current acting capacities.
The EAAB also drew criticism from the parliamentary committee after its officials were unable to present the board’s annual report. Committee members were told that the preparation of the board’s financials had not been completed in time to present the documents to the Auditor General and therefore the annual report could not be finalised.
The EAAB sent notification to the parliamentary speaker of its inability to present its annual report instead of informing the Parliamentary Committee on Human Settlements of the problem.
The EAAB has been heavily criticised by the estate agency community for ongoing delays in the issuing of Fidelity Fund Certificates (FFC) and for not acting against estate agencies that are operating illegally without FFCs or submitting annual audits as required by the Estate Agency Affairs Act.
Words: Blake Wilkins