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Friday Mar 11, 2011

Spotlight on 'soccer squad' agency board

'The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) had no right to dismiss Nomonde Mapetla because it was never properly constituted.'

Advocate Dali Mpofu explained today that the "soccer squad" of 11 members who make up the board required a further four members to be the "rugby squad" necessary to constitute a proper board.

Mapetla is challenging her dismissal as chief executive of the board, saying she was being victimised for her "whistle-blowing" activities, which led to the demise of property doyenne Wendy Machanik.

After three days of trawling the Johannesburg High Court the parties were finally given a hearing before Judge Lotter Wepenaar, who adjourned the case after Mapetla's lawyers had failed to provide him with a bound copy of their submissions.

When the hearing finally resumed today, Mpofu tried to convince the court that the board was improperly constituted.

Mapetla was suspended and later dismissed, with attorneys for the EAAB arguing that she was never properly appointed because the former board chairman had made a unilateral decision to extend her contract until July.

Before the hearing started, the two parties engaged in a bout of mudslinging in their heads of argument. Mapetla claimed her dismissal was unfair because she was never allowed a hearing.

Board chairman Thami Bolani claimed in court papers that Mapetla used the board as her personal bank account to pay for overseas jaunts and fund relatives while her work suffered.

Bolani said leaks of the alleged illegal activities by Machanik had lain on Mapetla's desk for six months before she took action.

Mapetla said her "whistle-blowing activities", which led to the sinking of Machanik, had prompted her suspension and dismissal.

The board was even more unsettled by investigations involving other "big fish" estate agencies. Some board members, Mapetla contended, were directly involved with the "big fish" agencies under investigation.

The Star

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