/ 7 March 2011

Cosatu concerned about Mapetla’s dismissal

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Monday it was “extremely concerned” about the sacking of Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) CEO Nomonde Mapetla.

“Cosatu is extremely concerned at the illegal and unprocedural dismissal of Nomonde Mapetla, as chief executive of the EAAB,” spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement.

Mapetla was “placed on special leave” on February 17, allegedly “to afford the board the opportunity to undertake an investigation into possible operational and governance irregularities that might have occurred at EAAB”, Craven said.

“Then on 28 February the board served her with a dismissal letter, terminating her employment contract … She was not given a hearing or even a charge sheet.”

The EAAB announced on Tuesday that “the employment contract between itself and Mrs Nomonde Mapetla, the erstwhile chief executive officer, has been terminated with immediate effect due to an irreconcilable breakdown in the working relationship between the parties”.

Mapetla’s contract was due to expire on July 15.

“The board is steadfastly confident that, in the interim, the EAAB will continue to fulfil its statutory regulatory functions and duties in an effective and efficient manner,” the board said in a statement.

The EAAB is the regulator of the country’s 27 000 estate agents.

‘Special leave’
The suspension came just days after Mapetla ordered an investigation into Lew Geffen Estates.

Lew Geffen said “neither he nor the company” was notified that such an investigation was even contemplated.

The Sunday Times reported that insiders claimed Mapetla’s approach to investigating the big names in the industry might have played a role and that staff at the EAAB had apparently lodged complaints about her.

The board was reportedly also unhappy with her recent comments in the media.

Mapetla said that when she took over the EAAB she was shocked at how “chummy chummy” it had been with the industry players and that it had allowed “the big boys to tell you [EAAB] how to govern the industry”.

Mapetla took up the post of CEO six years ago.

She was credited with launching a clean-up of the industry which resulted in major players such as Wendy Machanik, Seeff Properties and Wakefields facing internal and criminal charges.

Mapetla is challenging her dismissal. The matter will be heard by the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday. — Sapa