EThekwini Municipality moves to get residents to pay for rates and services on Ingonyama Trust land
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DURBAN - ETHEKWINI Municipality is engaging with traditional leaders in an effort to extract payments for rates and services from wealthy residents living on land that falls under the Ingonyama Trust.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, while addressing councillors recently, warned that eThekwini would not tolerate the current situation where wealthy residents do not pay for services.
He revealed that he was engaging with traditional leaders on how and what the municipality could charge for services as the municipality could not allow a situation where people live in mansions and pay nothing for services.
Earlier this year, The Mercury reported that the municipality was pushing to get those residents who live in rural areas that fall under Ingonyama Trust to pay their fair share.
Ingonyama Trust is one of the state entities that owe the municipality millions of rand in rates. Reports tabled earlier this year revealed that the city had a total debt outstanding of R14.7 billion – and R194 million of it is for Ingonyama Trust.
The municipality has come under fire from opposition parties who accuse it of showing reluctance in taking the Ingonyama Trust to task over the debt.
In areas like Adams Mission and many others, multimillion-rand mansions have been springing up without any benefit to the municipality in the form of revenue for rates and services.
Kaunda said: “We will be engaging with the Ingonyama Trust; there are many interventions that we are doing and we have spoken to the Amakhosi to say that we are investing in infrastructure in rural areas, in deep rural areas, and that infrastructure needs to be maintained.
“So on how that will be done, those engagements will then yield some results on what kind of surcharges or tariffs will then be imposed so that those communities there will also spend money in maintaining those services.”
Inkosi Mqoqi Ngcobo of the AmaQadi area said the issue of rates had not been seriously discussed with the city.
Asked whether he would support the charging of rates in his area, he was non-committal, saying decisions are taken in his traditional council.
DA councillor Thabani Mthethwa said the matter had been dragging on for years and more action was needed.
“There should be finality on this matter, whether people will be paying. Our view is that everyone who uses the municipality’s services must pay.”
He said reports show that millions are owed by the Ingonyama Trust and the municipality needs that money.
IFP councillor Prem Iyer said the municipality had been putting down infrastructure like water for those homes on Ingonyama Trust land, but the land was not “rateable”.