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Outrage looms over pending rates hike as some eThekwini home valuations ‘almost double’

File Picture of Durban: Outrage looms over pending rates hike as some eThekwini home valuations ‘almost double’. Picture: Leon Lestrade/ African News Agency (ANA)

File Picture of Durban: Outrage looms over pending rates hike as some eThekwini home valuations ‘almost double’. Picture: Leon Lestrade/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 5, 2022

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DURBAN - DURBAN ratepayer organisations are bracing for a showdown with the eThekwini Municipality due to the rise in the value of their homes on the new general valuation roll. The rise in property values will directly impact on the amount that needs to be paid for rates.

Deputy Mayor Philani Mavundla confirmed that he had a meeting scheduled for last night with ratepayers. Ratepayer organisations said they expected the issue of the valuations to be addressed at the meeting.

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Ratepayer bodies that spoke to The Mercury said their members were outraged. They said in some cases, the value of properties on the new valuation roll had almost doubled. The deadline for reviewing the roll was initially meant to expire in March, but has been extended until April 29.

In a post on its Facebook page, the municipality said a general valuation was required to be undertaken at least once every four years in terms of the Municipal Property Rates Act.

“The new valuation roll was published in February 2022 and will come into effect on 1 July 2022. The date of valuation has been determined as at 2 July 2021 and the general valuation will reflect the market value of all properties in accordance with property market conditions applicable at this date,” it said.

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To date, The Mercury understands, the city has received about 900 objections to the roll, but opposition parties have rejected this figure as being too low, saying it may be an indication that not all residents are aware that the 2022 valuation roll is currently up for inspection.

Navin Dookran, of the Clare Estate Ratepayers’ Association, said they were to meet with political leaders to discuss the valuation roll.

“There is no service delivery happening in eThekwini, there is a high unemployment rate, people are still trying to come out from Covid-19, how does the municipality explain this increase?” asked Dookran. He urged ratepayers to reject the increases in valuations.

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He said the city was deep in debt because of the money it had borrowed over the years and was now trying to pass off that debt to consumers.

Others described the valuation roll as the outcome of an unfair bill, the National Ratings Bill, which influences the valuation roll, saying for change to happen this bill should be the target.

Jeeva Pillay, of the Tongaat Ratepayers Association, said the first thing that needed to be challenged was the National Rating Bill.

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“It allows for a situation whereby if someone down the road sells their home for a certain amount, the value of your property just increases. It does not take into account the fact that some people build their homes to stay in and some to leave them for the next generation. It penalises you with higher payments for staying in your house,” he said.

Dr Annie Singh, chairperson of the Asherville Ratepayers’ Association (ARA), said residents had approached the organisation for guidance.

“The objections form is cumbersome and not sufficiently user-friendly for many people who have not received any assistance with the completion thereof; which highlights the next point, that the exact criteria/formula that has been employed for the valuations has not been made known to the thousands of people that are affected by the proposed rates increase as a result of the new valuations,” she said.

Opposition parties also expressed concern.

Patrick Pillay of the Democratic Liberal Congress said many residents were upset about the valuation roll and would be speaking out on the process.

“For instance in some duplexes in the Phoenix area that have not undergone any improvements, the valuations have almost doubled, some increases are as high as 95%.

“Some of the duplexes had a value of R300 000 and without any improvements, they are now valued at R580 000, which means the person who was paying around R265 per month will now be paying close to R400 per month.”

DA councillor Nicole Graham said they were informed by the deputy city manager for finance Sandile Mnguni, during the executive committee meeting last week, that the city had received only about 900 objections.

She said they had received many complaints from community members concerned about the valuation roll, adding that residents did not want to pay more for services they were not getting.

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