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Wednesday Mar 02, 2011

EAAB axes Mapetla 'for talking to media'

The decision by the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) to dismiss chief executive Nomonde Mapetla appears to have been prompted by her talking to the media during her suspension.

Portia Mofikoe, an EAAB spokeswoman, said yesterday that Mapetla was not supposed to have any contact with the media during her suspension "but she chose to do so".

The EAAB yesterday announced it had terminated Mapetla's employment contract with immediate effect "due to an irreconcilable breakdown in the working relationship between the parties".

Accounting and auditing firm Deloitte has been appointed to undertake a forensic investigation into all operational and governance issues affecting the organisation.

Mofikoe stressed that the EAAB had not dismissed Mapetla, but terminated her employment contract, which was due to expire on July 15.

Mapetla said she was "shocked" by her dismissal and that she had issued instructions to her attorneys to apply for an urgent interdict to set it aside. She said her appointment had been approved by the cabinet, which would also have to approve her dismissal.

Mofikoe said the employment contract determined the employment relationship and therefore termination would be determined by the contract and the EAAB would oppose any court application to set aside termination of the contract.

Mapetla's dismissal follows a forensic audit into the trust accounts of Wendy Machanik Properties (WMP). Mapetla claimed she had been "hounded out" because she had done what needed to be done under the law regarding WMP, She said this was not the only errant estate agency and there were "others that need to be pursued". Mapetla believes vested interests applied pressure on the EAAB to dismiss her to avoid this.

Mofikoe said the termination of Mapetla's contract had "absolutely nothing" to do with the ongoing investigation. She also stressed that the board had initiated the establishment of a whistle-blower system, not Mapetla, and forced the issue of WMP to be made public to protect consumers and "to set the standard for zero tolerance".

Compliance had been neglected, resulting "in a situation like this where estate agents are dipping into trust accounts". The board was determined to clean up the industry.

Business Report

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