President of Real Estate Institute of Botswana (REIB), Montshwari Mooketsi, blasted some members of the institute for “ dishonourable” conduct in their duties which is impacting negatively on the profession.
Speaking at a one-day seminar last weekend, he said some members of his institute have “ignored and violated” the institute’s code of conduct and are at the same time illegally over-charging clients.
“Complaints have been received that some Real Estate practitioners are not properly adhering to the institute’s code of practice, i.e professional norms are being ignored or violated.
“However, I would quickly add that majority of offenders are those who are not members, whilst a few allegations have been made against some of our own members,” he said.
His statement is a serious indictment on one of the key institution in the country which is involved in oversees transactions valued in billions of pula every year. Half the time people who are cheated are desperate or ignorant of the procedures.
“As President of the Real Estate Institute of Botswana, it has come to my notice that whilst some members are applying the mandatory tariff rate endorsed by the membership, some are blatantly violating this document. Moreso, that our clients are now bitterly complaining that whilst some companies are charging reasonable rates, some others are exorbitantly high,” he said.
The workshop, which was aimed at educating members on regulations governing their profession, was also attended by Minister of Lands and Housing, Ndelu Seretse, who urged members to act professionally.
“The objectives of the Institute are to promote and encourage high standards of Professional Practice in relation to Property Valuation, Estate Agency, Property Management, Property Auctioneering and Related activities,” he said.
“This can only be achieved if the institute critically protects and promotes the interests of its members, the property professions and the public in relation to any of its activities,” he said, adding that government also expects them to act professionally.
The REIB was established ib response to the 1990s land scandal in Mogoditshane area which saw the mushrooming of “ fly- by-night” real estate agencies resulting in a number of people being cheated out their hard earned money.
That resulted in an intense lobbying by some members of the profession with the view of creating a professional body to protect the image of the trade and the interest of the clients.
“Property is one of the most lucrative businesses and it will inevitably attract all sorts of agents to include those that want quick money at the expense of the integrity of the profession.
“You should attract all and sundry to join your Institute or if not they should emulate you and form similar organizations as this will make registration and affiliation to the regulatory body a lot easier and better coordinated,” he added.
He said there is nothing wrong with having differences of opinions because they will propel members forward, and urged them to avoid conflicts as it can only bring disorder.
Seretse also advised REIB members not to dwell much in history as they would not go anyway. “The most important thing is to cultivate good grounds for working together,” he said.
Other aims of the one-day workshop were to shed light on the relationship between the Real Estate Advisory Council (REAC) and REIB. The other aim was to familiarize members with of the Real Estate Professionals Act 2003 and proposed rules and regulations, and discuss how they interact with each other.
Other issues of concern involved dual registration of Real Estate Practitioners by the Institute and Advisory Council, Role of the Institute under the new legislation and International norms or practices, Nomination of REIB Members to Advisory Council and their role and responsibility to the Institute and, lastly, direct registration of individual to the Advisory Council and the opportunity to be heard.