RACISM HAS NO PLACE IN THE PROPERTY SECTOR
STATEMENT ON RACISM IN THE ESTATE AGENCY SECTOR BY THE MULTI-STAKEHOLDER GROUP
Issued: 12 January 2016
Issued By: The Multi-Stakeholder Group
As the members pf the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) we confirm that the MSG fully aligns itself with the sentiments expressed by the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) in the under-mentioned release entitled "Racism has no place in the property sector". We confirm that the MSG not only completely subscribes to but also wholly endorses the principles and values that have been expressed by the EAAB in that release.
06 JANUARY 2016
RACISM HAS NO PLACE IN THE PROPERTY SECTOR
Following the recently widely publicised derogatory, offensive and racist remarks posted by estate agent Penny Sparrow on Facebook, the Minister of Human Settlements has instructed the Department of Human Settlements to work with the South African Human Rights Commission and the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) in conducting an enquiry into racism by estate agents in South Africa. The EAAB has, in addition, been requested to investigate whether it can institute any action against Penny Sparrow, as an estate agent, following her Facebook posting and to report back to the Minister in this respect. Effect is presently being given by the EAAB to the Minister’s instructions.
It should be noted that estate agents engaging or participating in racist behaviour may render themselves guilty of a contravention of regulations 2.1 and/or 2.6 of the Code of Conduct for Estate Agents (“the Code of Conduct”). There can be little doubt that acts of racism are not only contrary to the integrity of estate agents in general but also bring the estate agency profession into disrepute. Such proven behaviour would, therefore, constitute a contravention of regulation 2.1 of the Code of Conduct.
Regulation 2.6 of the Code of Conduct, for its part, enjoins estate agents not to deny equal services to any person for reasons of race, creed, sex or country of national origin. This provision of the Code of Conduct gives effect to sections 9 (3) and (4) of the Constitution which provides that:
“(3) The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.
(4) No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds in terms of subsection (3).”
It is to be emphasised that the EAAB is convinced that any and all incidents of racism and discrimination are not only reprehensible and unjustifiable but also morally and ethically indefensible and unacceptable, particularly in our constitutional democracy. It is, furthermore, apparent that many incidents of racism can be attributed to ignorance of or indifference to the pain, suffering and degradation that this deplorable behaviour causes to society.
The EAAB is, consequently, determined to eradicate any vestiges of racism in the estate agency sector through both increased levels of enforcement as well as the introduction of appropriate education and sensitivity training for estate agency practitioners and consumers alike. The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme constitutes a useful mechanism for achieving this latter objective.
Through the promotion of continuing awareness of the offensiveness, hurt, destruction and manifestly undesirable consequences of racism and the perpetuation of racist acts, the EAAB is confident that this scourge will speedily be eliminated from the property sector in general and the estate agency environment in particular. As the Minister of Human Settlements has cogently indicated it is axiomatic that racists who defiantly demonstrate a total lack of respect for either the Constitution or laws of South Africa cannot be allowed to operate as estate agents. The Minister has tasked the EAAB with ensuring the elimination of racism, in all its nefarious forms, from the property sector and the EAAB is determined to expedite the fulfilment of this important mandate.
It remains an unfortunate, yet empirically proven, truism that persons who engage in undesirable racist behaviours frequently tend to be those lacking in self-confidence, self-esteem and self-love and who experience feelings of worthlessness and insignificance. Such persons are particularly apt to externalise these negative and destructive feelings onto others by perpetrating acts of racism. Racists, apparently, find comfort as well as a reason for their existence in both blaming and heaping abuse upon the “other”. As recent events have confirmed racism seems inherently to constitute a series of individual acts which, if permitted to go unchallenged, will ultimately succeed in creating a divisive, angry and bitter society.
The EAAB wishes to underscore that it cannot, and will not, permit the perpetration of any hostile, divisive and self-destructive behaviours within its regulatory sector. The EAAB unequivocally subscribes to the idea that discrimination between peoples on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic origin or any other factors, as provided for in the Constitution, creates not only an obstacle to the cordial and peaceful relations to which all South Africans are entitled but disturbs the harmony of our country and, as such, can neither be tolerated nor accepted.
Should anyone wish to report racist or discriminatory remarks or behaviour please feel free to report this on the EAAB's Whistleblowers Hotline No. 0800 223 225
Issued by: The Estate Agency Affairs Board
Date: 6 January 2016