Categories: SA Valuer Blog1049 words4 min read

In Memoriam | Thomas Edward Wybenga


May 9, 2022


Thomas Edward Wybenga
(12.11.1940 – 18.04.2022)

Because it is extremely difficult to find an appropriate way to begin an article about such a well-known and distinguished doyen of the valuation profession, the conventional method must suffice.

Tom was born in Pretoria and attended Pretoria West High School where he matriculated in 1957. His strongest subjects were Mathematics and Science; his teachers advised him to follow an engineering or teaching career.

But he took a job in a bank as so many school leavers were forced to do in those days. While working for Volkskas in the Trust Department in 1960 he learnt that the Pretoria City Council was looking for extra staff in their Engineering Department and he was taken on there. At that time Pretoria was one of the few city councils to have a valuation department; it was then a sub- section of the Engineering Department staffed by four people. Tom was soon moved to the Valuation Department as a valuer’s assistant, promoted to valuer in 1964 and later to development valuer in 1969; in 1972 he became Assistant City Valuer. So it was per chance that Tom was introduced to valuation.

In 1981 Tom took up the position as Town Valuer with the Sandton Town Council, started the Valuation Department and worked there for the next 14 years. He stressed the necessity of practical training for valuers and ran a pre-examination workshop for final-year students.

Tom has been a valuer in private practice from 1995 and is still practising. He was also a member of the Valuation Appeal Board (Gauteng Province) from 1996 to 2000.

Tom knew that the general public confused valuers with sworn appraisers and, going out to do some market research, found that valuers had nowhere to study. The valuation profession was, in fact, not professional. Associates of the SAIV were mostly legal people or estate agents who often valued properties on the side. The two-year diploma course was not recognised and the Institute realised that recognised academic qualification was essential.

Because      no      officially     recognised qualification in Property Valuation existed, senior valuers, inter alia Messrs Chris Smal (Deputy City Valuer, Pretoria) and Gordon S. Adkins initiated the development of a three- year National Diploma in Property Valuation. They were also involved in the negotiations with National Government regarding the implementation of the first Valuers’ Act, which was subsequently replaced by the Property Valuers Profession Act, 2000.

Tom and some of his colleagues, including Mr Chris Smal, were the first Pretoria valuers to register for the three-year course, presented at Technicon. After successfully completing the three-year Diploma in Property Valuation, Tom enrolled at the University of Pretoria for BCom in Economic Sciences and graduated in 1970.

Page 78 of The South African Institute of Valuers – The First Eighty Years 1909-1989 by JH Hermann reads: “The first (practical workschool), of what will undoubtedly become annual events, was…held in Johannesburg in May 1990, under the guidance of and organised by Mr Tom Wybenga – Vice President of the Institute… It…was highly successful and much positive feedback was obtained.”

Tom maintains that the number of practical courses is still limited; not only are general courses limited, but there are few or no practical courses specialising in specific valuation areas, such as one-day courses on valuing shopping centres or filling stations. Ongoing professional training should be stronger and CET must be emphasised, so much so that the Council should withhold registration unless valuers can prove that they have the required CET hours (some do not attend one course).

But, no mention has yet been made of Tom’s notable profession profile. He was admitted as an Associate of the SAIV in 1970 and was a member of the Executive Association of Municipal Valuers from1982- 1986, serving for two years as their president. For ten years (1985-1995) he was a member of the SAIV Northern Branch Executive and National Executive of the SAIV and in 1991 was elected President of the Institute for the following two years. In 1995 he was elevated to Fellow of the Institute.

In addition to his professional career and his official duties at the Institute, Tom found time to lecture at the Witwatersrand Technikon from 1982 to 1987, in various subjects for the National Diploma in Property Valuation course (inter alia Property Valuation I, II and III as well as Mathematics of Finance). Between 1987 and 1994 he wrote a number of lectures on Property Valuation for the National Property Education Trust. From 1998 to 2004 he was a part-time lecturer in Property Valuation to post-graduate students at the University of Pretoria.

When asked how the profession has changed over the years, Tom answered that since valuers have been able to qualify professionally more people have entered the profession, particularly as municipal valuers. But ongoing education is essential. Although the general calibre of valuer today is better than it used to be, at government and municipal level people are appointed “who don’t know anything”. One deputy city valuer was heard to remark about the CET hours: “How can they send us back to school?”

Tom maintains that Natex has the important task of looking after ongoing professional education. In the private sector companies appoint competent valuers. Over the years Tom’s belief has been that you don’t just give an employee a job, you set aside time with staff for training; firms should detail a senior valuer to present a subject once a week to stimulate the juniors and in this way improve the quality of the work.

The average age of practising valuers today is 40 or even over 50. A concerted effort should be made through the media to sell the profession to the public, and in particular to young people, so that perceptions can be changed and the profession becomes better known. There is a lot of work for valuers out there: for government and municipalities, in banks and in agriculture.

But the part of Tom’s CV of which he is the most proud is his family: his wife of 52 years, Corrie, who sadly passed away in 2015, and his four children, Francien, Engela, Henk and Yvonne, and his ten grandchildren. He has many hobbies – reading, doing crosswords and Sudoku; caravanning, bird watching and enjoying the bush. He lives in Pretoria with his two Jack Russels, Jasmin and Bubbles.

*Article extracted from SA Valuer May 2016 issue.