Rates act ‘bad for the poor’

2009-09-10 00:00

MSUNDUZI Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo admitted to a National Council of Provinces (NCOP) committee yesterday that the Property Rates Act has caused more harm than good to the poor residents of Pietermaritzburg.

Presenting the challenges faced by the municipality, alongside the mayor, councillors and municipal manager of the uMgungundlovu District municipality, to the NCOP members at the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, Hlatshwayo said that in the greater Edendale area, for example, indigent residents now find themselves eligible to pay for rates.

Hlatshwayo said that the market value of old houses in the greater Edendale area has more than doubled, but in many cases homeowners are either indigent or unemployed and therefore unable to pay rates.

She said the act appears not to differentiate in terms of geographic area, as a house that was previously valued at R250 000 in Imbali has shot up to just over R400 000 in market value. Some of these houses are old and are actually depreciating in value, she said.

“I ask the NCOP to assist us when reviewing the act,” said Hlatshwayo.

The mayor told NCOP members that the council is struggling to collect its revenue from residents and that government departments owe them millions in unpaid rates.

The use of debt collectors by the municipality, said Hlatshwayo, plunges the poor into more debt as they borrow money from loan sharks to pay the council.

“Government departments owe the municipality R86,7 million in rates. We need the revenue so that we can address some of our challenges,” said Hlatshwayo.

Some of these, she said, are backlogs in sanitation, water, roads, housing and electricity. “The backlog for electricity had been decreased to 3 714 households, however, the resolution to electrify some semi-informal settlements has increased it to about 4 841. The backlog does not include housing schemes still to be built,” she said.

Msunduzi municipal manager Rob Haswell said that it is a great myth that municipalities are self sufficient. Haswell said relying on rates and electricity revenue to effect development is not enough.

uMgungundlovu District told the NCOP members that the council is just three percent shy of getting “blue” status as a clean water supplier, while Msunduzi Municipality is a mere one percent from getting blue status. Municipal manager Sbu Khuzwayo said that by November the district would have reached blue status.

Khuzwayo and District Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee told the NCOP that the council faces serious challenges of sanitation in the Howick and Mkhambathini (Camperdown) areas. They said that the municipality is confronted with water and sanitation infrastructure that is more than 60 years old and in need of major upgrades or total overhaul.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.