Value woes in Sobantu as well

2008-03-23 00:00

Sobantu residents are joining the city’s rates furore after discovering major discrepancies in the way their houses have been valued.

There are cases of two-room dilapidated homes being valued at much more than four-room houses, and of exactly the same type of houses given vastly different values.

There are also semi-detached houses that have been valued as one unit, with the ratepayer on the one side cited in the document as the property owner, and the other neighbour not listed.

In one block, all the neighbours’ outbuildings were registered as part of one property, placing a higher rates burden on him.

Former ward councillor for the area, Pius Mbuyisa, who served on the council’s rates sub-committee, said he has urged residents to check their new property values.

"Initially, residents felt they would have no problems. [Then] they started receiving the official notices of their values and I got a rush of calls," he said.

A meeting was held in the suburb last week and residents were disappointed that only one out of three municipal officials who were to attend turned up to explain how the new rating system works.

Mbuyisa said they expressed their dissatisfaction at the discrepancies and are concerned about the objection process.

"Residents wanted to know why they were expected to do the work to rectify the mistakes that the valuers had been paid to do."

Mbuyisa warned ratepayers in the area not to be apathetic and to check their valuations, as they may be in for a nasty surprise like resident Victor Skhakhane, who hadn’t bothered to check his official notice and only looked when asked about it.

He lives in one half of a semi-detached house and was shocked to find his house valued at R190 000: a value that includes his neighbour’s property.

nalini@witness.co.za

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