Durban - The Msunduzi municipality has warned ratepayers to continue paying their property rates despite thousands of objections being raised about the valuations of properties.

The city’s valuations roll, which is used to determine property rates, has come under fire and received a record number of objections from ratepayers who have seen their property valuations and rates rocket.

The municipality has received 4500 objections from residents to the property valuations roll. The roll is updated every five years.

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha confirmed there were 4500 objections that were received and being processed.

She said while those objections were pending, residents were expected to pay.

“The lodging of an objection does not defer liability for payment of rates beyond the date determined for payment,” she said.

She said all objections would be processed by the end of December.

Pietermaritzburg and Midlands Chamber of Business chief executive Melanie Veness said she had been inundated with emails and phone calls from irate ratepayers about the sharp escalation of property values.

“In some cases people did not realise that their property values had increased to the extent that they have, not until they received their new accounts and consequently they failed to object during the objection period,” she said.

African Christian Democratic Party councillor Rienus Niemand said the valuations process was flawed. He questioned how the values of properties were dramatically increased.

“People are seeing their rates increase by 100, 200 or even 300%. These increases should be investigated. Valuations are also based on evidence of property sales in that particular area,” he said.

DA councillor Sibongiseni Majola said: “The regulations (governing the valuations process and procedures) state that you cannot have a valuation that is 30% higher than the previous one, but people are seeing increases of 100%.”

He said the DA had objected to the new valuation roll, saying it had far too many problems and could not be sent to the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sipho Hlomuka for certification.

“We have over 4000 objections, that is not normal. Even procedurally, it was flawed. It has been picked up that basic things such as public participation were not adhered to,” Majola said.

He said it was important to have a proper valuations roll because it affected the city’s budget.

“If people object to these 100% increases and they win, that will affect the cash flow and we could end up with an unfunded budget.”