Following an incident in Cape Town in which a prospective property tenant was racially discriminated against, the estate agent involved has since been suspended and her employer, Live Real Estate, is now taking legal action.
After making a request to arrange a viewing of the property, applicant Pol Osei was told by the agent that, "The client is race specific," and further in the Whatsapp chat thread that, "It's not illegal how a landlords chooses their tenant ... It's not our fault [sic]."
Brendan Miller, CEO of Live Real Estate, has said in an Instagram post that the agency has advised Osei of the steps to follow in order to report both the agent and the landlord to the Estate Agency Affairs Board.
"With regards to the landlord, we did not have a contract as the property was not listed with Live Real Estate. We have reached out to [the agent's] previous agency and we are working on expanding guidelines for other estate agents to also implement in order to prevent anything like this from happening ever again," said Miller.
Listing on Tyson Properties
The listing was featured under Tyson Properties, the agent's previous employer, which has also released a statement saying, "Tyson Properties does not condone or tolerate any form of racism amongst our partners colleagues and clients, we are horrified to learn of the actions of an ex-employee... Tyson Properties will refuse to ever work with racist landlords."
According to The South African
, Tyson Properties is consulting its lawyers to determine if legal action could be taken against the estate agent and Osei has indicated that he plans to approach the Western Cape Housing Tribunal and the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EABB).
Published on News24
, the agent has since issued an apology: "I wish to apologise unreservedly for acceding to my client's demand not to accept black tenants to rent their property. In hindsight, I should have objected to this request as it goes against my own values, the principles of the company I represent and our Constitution. It is [none] other than crude racism which I detest.
"It was my duty to call it out which I neglected to do. It was my oversight for which I take full responsibility and accountability. I trust that you will accept my sincere apology. I promise this is not who I am. I should have known better and pledge to do better."