/ 11 March 2011

Axed estate agency board CEO loses court bid

Axed Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) CEO Nomonde Mapetla has lost her urgent bid to get her job back.

“A matter of this nature and complexity should not be brought urgently,” said Judge Lotter Wepener in the South Gauteng High Court on Friday in handing down his judgement on the urgency of Mapetla’s application.

He said he was not ruling on the validity of her case, but declined to grant her urgent access to the court.

Mapetla also lost in her bid to have the board of the EAAB prohibited from acting as a board.

“The appointment of the relevant [board] members does not fall foul of any law,” said Judge Wepener.

Mapetla was taking the EAAB, the department of trade and industry and the individual board members to court.

She wanted an urgent interim interdict to prohibit the EAAB board from acting as a board and to be restored as CEO, claiming her suspension and termination were unlawful.

‘Insufficient facts’
The judge said Mapetla had “not provided sufficient facts to sustain her attack” on the minister of trade and industry, who is responsible for appointing the EAAB board.

On Thursday, Dali Mpofu SC, acting for Mapetla, had argued the EAAB board was unlawfully constituted as it only had 11 members while the Estate Agency Affairs Act required that the trade and industry minister should appoint 15 members.

However, the judge said he had not been given enough information to establish this. He said it was unclear at what point there were only 11 members and whether there had ever been 15 members. He added that there was nothing to say board members could not be appointed at different times.

Mapetla had also wanted an urgent interdict against the board to prevent members from discussing this with the media.

The judge declined to grant this too.

He also ordered that Mapetla pay the costs of two counsel.

ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who had supported Mapetla in court on Wednesday and Thursday, was absent on Friday.

Mapetla was suspended on February 17 and her contract was terminated on February 28 with the provision that she would receive her full pay until July 15, when the contract would have expired.

Mapetla took up the post of CEO six years ago.

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