uMngeni forum to declare dispute

2011-07-20 00:00

THE uMngeni Rates Forum plans to go ahead with declaring a rates dispute with the uMngeni Municipality.

This decision was reached late yesterday, the deadline that the forum gave mayor Mbali Myeni at a public meeting a week ago to meet a set of demands.

The demands included a request for an independent audit of the valuation roll and a review of the rates randage.

Forum chairperson Mano Naidoo said they will engage in dialogue, but if there is no reciprocation from the mayor the forum will have no choice but to file a dispute.

Naidoo said he is encouraged by Myeni’s comments in yesterday’s Witness about her concerns about the valuation process.

He reminded the municipality that socio-economic concerns are key to the Municipal Property Rates Act, whose guiding principles are equity, affordability, social and economic development, financial sustainability, cost efficiency and poverty alleviation

Naidoo said these concerns seem to have been ignored in uMngeni. Naidoo noted that the valuation roll was signed off by a Mr Rahim of E-Valuation on January 31, 2011, and that an amended valuation roll was again signed off in March 2011 with a large number of changes to individual valuations.

“This is against the Act because once a valuation roll is completed and signed off by a professional valuator changes can only be made through a supplementary roll,” said Naidoo.

He added that this is why the forum wants the valuation roll to be audited by an independent valuator appointed by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

He reiterated that the ratepayers have no desire to bring the municipality to its knees

Therefore, Naidoo said “we will pay last year’s rates plus seven percent without arrears build-up”.

The uMngeni Rates Forum’s other demands on the list are that the mayor address the issue that senior councillors in key posts must be people of good standing and of sound character; that there are proper financial controls with credible people in an oversight role; and that the municipality’s standing committee on public accounts be chaired by a competent person from the opposition.

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