uMngeni ratepayers hail premier’s rates probe

2009-11-09 00:00

THE uMngeni Municipality rates fiasco that saw citizens take to the streets in protest and write to the Human Rights Commission is receiving attention from the KZN provincial government.

The KZN MEC for Local Government, Nomusa Dube, has confirmed that her clean-up at uMngeni has involved reviewing aspects of the implementation of the Property Rates Act.

Dube said that following an investigation by the ministerial task team set up by the premier to look into uMngeni Municipality, it was found that the municipality has been inconsistent in applying council policy and by-laws. This relates particularly to the rating of two retirement homes, Amberfield and Amberglen, at the same level as other properties.

She said the task team’s findings echo the decision of the award that was made by the South African Human Rights Commission in January 2008, which ruled in favour of the owners of the retirement homes.

Dube said that as soon as the team, which was set up by Premier Zweli Mkhize in cabinet on Wednesday, finalises its probe into possible corrective measures that need to be taken to improve all ailing municipalities in the province, her department will implement those findings.

“We will ensure the situation of charging people unfairly does not happen again,” Dube said.

“We need to protect the country’s laws as they exist with a simple purpose to ensure good and clean local governance,” she added.

Ric Busa of the Hilton Ratepayers’ Association thanked the premier for acting on a request by ordinary citizens.

He said residents of uMngeni served a petition on the premier on July 1, 2009, demanding that action be taken.

The premier promtply set up a task team that immediately arranged a meeting with representatives from the association.

Busa said meaningful action has been taken since the meetings.

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