Kwanalu sues over rates issue

2010-12-03 00:00

THE KZN Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) will today launch a high court action aimed at seeking relief for the agricultural sector with a capped rate randage on agricultural properties.

The long-awaited court action will take place at the Pietermaritzburg High Court and the organisation will be asking for rate randage on agricultural land to be limited to R0,005.

Kwanalu stated that the action will include an overwhelming amount of expert evidence that show a rate randeage above half a cent on agricultural properties — before taking into account any phasing in provisions, rebates or discounts — will render the agricultural economy in the province unsustainable and will have severe consequences for the agricultural economy in the province.

The union predicts that many farms will go bankrupt.

President of Kwanalu, Robin Barnsley, said they decided to pursue the legal route after extensive consultations with various stakeholders, including numerous government departments, were fruitless.

He said Kwanalu had over the past three and a half years conducted an extensive study on the issue and discovered that many agricultural properties would not be able to survive rate increases above 0,5%.

Barnsley said this case could set a precedent to launch similar cases nationwide.

He said their court action will present an overwhelming amount of expert evidence to suggest that a rates randeage on agricultural properties — before taking into account any phasing in provisions, rebates or discounts — above half a percent will render the agricultural economy in the province unsustainable.

“While there are munici palities who are charging very low rates, for which we are grateful, there are others who are charging substantially close to the 0,5% ,” said Barnsley.

“What should be made clear is that we are not trying to avoid paying rates, but what we want is that the rates should be reasonable and our studies have shown that the 0,5% rate is the most affordable,” he added.

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