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Homeowners oppose eThekwini Municipality’s valuations roll

File Picture: Leon Lestrade African News Agency (ANA)

File Picture: Leon Lestrade African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 26, 2022

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DURBAN - CLOSE to 3 000 homeowners have lodged objections over the new valuations of their homes.

The eThekwini Municipality revealed that as of April 14, it had received 2 769 objections. The new valuations will come into effect at the start of the new financial year on July 1.

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Municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the objections would be investigated and their outcomes processed in terms of the Municipal Property Rates Act.

When asked if the month-end deadline for objections still stood in light of the storm damage, Mayisela said: “Yes, however, the city is considering extending the deadline. Once a firm decision has been made, a statement will be released.”

According to the municipality, a general valuation is required to be undertaken at least once every four years. It said the general valuation would reflect the market value of all properties in accordance with property market conditions applicable at this date.

Roland Henwood, a lecturer in the department of political science at the University of Pretoria, said property taxes were seen as low-hanging fruit that municipalities found easy to collect as they could locate the home in question, unlike when they had to collect for services like water or electricity.

Municipalities often seek to maximise their taxes on a small base that is shrinking, said Henwood.

“This might backfire in that people will not want to buy expensive properties that comes with high taxes, and might just decide that they cannot afford this.”

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He said while there was legislation governing the process, council officials should be flexible and consider the circumstances residents were faced with, for example the recent floods.

Councillor Patrick Pillay of the Democratic Liberal Congress said his office has been inundated with pleas for help from residents filing objections.

“Residents feel the process has been unfair and these increases mean they will starve in order to pay rates. Moreover, the process to object is difficult as the forms are long and very complicated. The person who is objecting would need to have had sight of the house plan,” he said.

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The new valuation roll has also hit pensioners hard as 75-year-old Geoff Dyer from Durban North has seen a significant jump in the valuation of his home.

He said his home is now valued at R2.4 million, when it was valued at R2m in the 2017-18 valuation.

“This means that I now lose the rebate (for pensioners) I was getting. (The threshold is R2m). I was getting about R400 a month. My then valuation meant that I would be paying around R2 100 and with the rebate I was paying around R1 700 and now that has fallen out. I will not be getting any rebates. To go from a decent rebate to nothing is not good,” he said.

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Dyer said there are many other pensioners who could face the same predicament.

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