Property Practitioners' Regulatory Authority tackles corruption in its own ranks

The Property Practitioners' Regulatory Authority, previously known as the Estate Agency Affairs Board, recently launched a probe into its own governance affairs, with distressing and unfortunate revelations. A forensic investigation into suspected fraud between the periods 2011 to 2021 was in response to a whistleblower's damning allegations against the organisation's Chief Executive Officer, Mamodupi Mohlala.

Contrary to its intended purpose of safeguarding and regulating the property sector, with a specific focus on estate agents, the organisation now finds itself embroiled in controversy, with allegations of a contravention of pension fund legislation and its rules; irregular appointment of staff; the appointment of underqualified persons; the flouting of procurement processes resulting in irregular and wasteful expenditure; and fraud.

The organisation's Chief Executive Officer allegedly irregularly authorised transactions which have been found to be fraudulent. PPRA Chairperson, Steven Ngubeni, confirmed that Mohlala was placed on precautionary suspension from 28 March 2022, the commencement date of the investigation. Preliminary findings revealed a string of serious allegations against Mohlala and other staff members, including fraud and financial misconduct. Disciplinary processes were launched, and a case with the South African Police Services was subsequently opened against her.

At the conclusion of the investigation, Mohlala was found to be guilty of all the accusations levelled against her. She has referred the matter to the CCMA where it will be heard on 26 October 2022. The PPRA is determined to recover all losses from those found to be complicit in the matters. The PPRA, under its acting CEO, has stated that it is prepared to turn a new leaf and administer the organisation in line with its intended legislative mandate.

While Mohlala's indiscretions went unchecked for so long, the organisation is to be commended for its decisive action in setting the PPRA back on course. Hopefully, this will set a good precedent for similar regulatory organisations regarding governance and accountability.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.