What's your home worth?

2013-07-29 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality’s overall general property valuation exercise for 2014 has started and there are hopes that it will be less shambolic than the last time it was done.

According to the Municipal Property Rates Act (MPRA) promulgated in 2004, all properties in South Africa must be valued at least once every four years at “market value” to determine the rates that will be paid.

The last exercise in the city resulted in over 8 000 appeals and was further compounded when the appeals, submitted mainly from the northern suburbs, were lost and the work had to be carried out again.

Discontent with the over-valuation of properties in the northern suburbs gave rise to the formation of the Msunduzi Rates Forum.

The forum remains dissatisfied that problems with the previous shambolic property valuations were never adequately addressed by the municipality.

On Thursday, an organisation called Metgovis, appointed by Msunduzi as the overall project management service for valuations, made a presentation to the executive committee (Exco).

The DA’s Bill Lambert asked what experience the company had in the field, given that the last exercise descended into mayhem.

Janet Channing, managing director of Metgovis, said her company was the project manager tasked with co-ordinating the process and ensuring that the city gets a quality valuation roll that has integrity. She said the process would be kept tidy.

Channing said BPG Mass Appraisals, which has done valuations in a number of other municipalities, would do the actual valuations.

According to its website, BPG Mass Appraisals was formerly known as CB Richard Ellis Mass Appraisal Services, which claims to have more than 30 years’ experience in property valuation and advisory services in Southern Africa.

It states it has carried out valuations and maintained valuation rolls for over 18 municipalities totalling some 500 000 property parcels. Its clients include Cape Town, Buffalo City (East London), Welkom in the Free State, Abaqulusi (Vryheid), Lady­smith, Newcastle and Richards Bay.

Channing, as the overall manager of the project, is a registered property valuer and serves on the national executive of the SA Institute of Valuers. She served as an adviser to the Department of Co-operative Governance Local Government reviewing the overall property valuation process in the province.

Her on-site team includes former uMngeni municipal manager Dumisani Vilakazi, who was dismissed from his post in 2010 after a disciplinary hearing found he had brought the municipality into disrepute following drunken driving charges.

Vilakazi will handle client liaison and communications.

Lambert said he was glad to hear that care would be taken not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Mayor Chris Ndlela said the municipality had credible organisations involved in the process.

“There may be teething problems, but we have high expectations,” he said.

Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi reminded the Exco that in terms of the MPRA the new valuation roll should have been implemented on July 1.

He said because the municipality had not been ready, it had to ask the MEC for Co-operative Governance for an extension, which was granted.

Nkosi said there were initial delays in the procurement process and the process was delayed further because of appeals by some of the losing bidders.

He said another challenge was that there were a sizeable number of properties that had not been valued in the past and as a result the municipality had been losing revenue by not being able to claim rates on these properties.

Nkosi said that an important part of compiling the new valuation roll would be to find all the properties that had not been previously listed.

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