Rates: ‘objectors entitled to a reply’

2014-08-20 00:00

THERE is a backlash from irate Msunduzi ratepayers who are looking at options on how to address the rejections of their rates objections.

Lawyer Farouk Jasat, acting on behalf of several clients, has written to the municipality saying that rates valuations are administrative actions, which materially and adversely affect the rights or legitimate expectations of ratepayers and, therefore, must be procedurally fair.

Jasat said, in this respect, his clients were entitled to written responses as to why their objections were rejected. He believed this was in accordance with the South African Constitution and the Promotion of the Administration of Justice Act of 2000. He has asked the municipality to provide written reasons supported by comparative sales with copies used by the valuator in determining the new valuations at the applicable date.

Residents were upset at yesterday’s report on the rates valuation process that explained they would not automatically get the reasons why their objections were rejected, but must pay R78 to apply for the reasons. Others were upset that the Msunduzi Rates Appeal Board has yet to be established, so they do not know how long they will have to wait before their appeals are heard.

Many other residents are only waking up to the fact that their rates have gone up significantly after getting their July bills with the new valuations and they have now missed the valuation appeal process. A resident wrote to The Witness saying his family owned three properties and were shocked after receiving their latest rates bill that their rates had gone up by 34%, 62% and 142%.

Chairperson of the Msunduzi Rates Forum (MRF) Babs Sithapersad said many more people were inquiring about the MRF and asking for a way forward. “The city council is quite unscrupulous; it does not care whether you can or cannot afford it, it just wants its money.”

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