Kokstaders up in arms over rates increases of from 100 to 200%

2009-06-24 00:00

YESTERDAY saw hundreds of Kokstad residents supported by members of COSATU and the local taxi association stage a protest march through Kokstad which culminated in the handing over of a petition to the mayor of Greater Kokstad, Mbulelo Sithole

The peaceful protest was organised to highlight ratepayers concerns at the recent rates hike passed by the Greater Kokstad Municipality which effectively increase residential rates by 100% and commercial rates by 200%.

Viewed as alarming, ratepayers seem united in the view that should the rates hike take effect, it will negatively affect economic activity in Kokstad resulting in the downscaling of businesses and even possible job losses.

Most property owners already had to endure significant rates adjustments last year and the proposed 100% residential and 200% commercial rates increase barely 12 months later have galvanized ratepayers into action.

Kokstad rates, should they take effect, will be close to double that of Pietermaritzburg which many view as “preposterous”.

Rumours of divisions in the local council are surfacing as a result of the negative publicity the approved rates increases have caused.

A petition handed over to the mayor by the Kokstad Ratepayers and Residents Association included a number of demands pertaining to the “fundamentally flawed” 2008 valuation roll, delays in responding to objections and the sustainability of the recently approved rates hike.

The crowd jeered the mayor as he ignored calls to address them.

Attorneys have been retained to mediate between the residents and the municipality in the hope of finding a solution.


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