Warning: rates reply could take a while

2008-03-18 00:00

If you object to your rates valuation, don’t hold your breath that you will get a response any time soon. This is the advice of residents of uMshwathi (Wartburg), one of the first municipalities to introduce the new property rates system, who a year later are still waiting to hear the outcome of their objections.

Ratepayers call the lengthy delay ludicrous as there were only 600 objections lodged in the small town. Allen Edmonds, chairman of the Albert Falls Ratepayers’ Association, said each time he asked the municipality about the process, he was told they were waiting for the outcome from the valuers. Yet a valuer has not yet revisited the properties of any of the objectors to carry out a revaluation.

Edmonds added that they also had some inexplicable valuations in their area. For example, a large hotel in the area was valued at R350 000, while far smaller houses were valued at between R600 000 and R700 000.

Chief financial officer (CFO) for uMshwati, Luis Cunha, said yesterday that ratepayers will know the outcome of their objections by March 31, 2008.

The Democratic Alliance has called on the eThekwini Council for the objection period to be extended. DA Councillor John Steenhuisen said a number of residents across the city have still not yet received their section 49 notices notifying them officially of their value.

Steenhuisen said this particularly seems to be the case in sectional title units.

"The fact that many residents were unable to access the website due to several crashes has only aggravated this. Not all residents have access to the Internet and the form itself is also complex and requires information, such as recent sales data, which could take weeks for a resident to obtain," he said.

Steenhuisen said that the period for objections in Johannesburg and Cape Town was over 90 days, and Cape Town is still accepting objection forms.

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