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  • Writer's pictureHoedspruit Chamber Sakekamer

Press Release - Rates & Objections

DATE: 5 October 2023

The General Valuation Roll (GVR) was published and as expected, many residents aren’t happy with the adjustments made with regards to newly published property values. This press release is to provide background information and the guidelines to make objections only - it is not a legal document and should not be construed as such. The information was sent to the MM for verification but no feedback was received.


BACKGROUND

Section 229 of the Constitution of the Republic 1996 empowers a Municipality to impose rates on properties and surcharges on fees for services provided by or on behalf of the Municipality.
Section 2 of the Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act No. 6 of 2004 (“the Rates Act”) empowers a local Municipality to levy a rate on properties in its area. The Municipality however does not have an unfettered discretion as to the value it ascribes to a property.
In terms of Section 45(1) of the Rates Act “Properties must be valued in accordance with generally recognised valuation practices, methods and standards …”.
The published roll is then open to public inspection and objections. New rates came into effect from 1 July 2023.

COMMENTS FROM THE RATES MEETING HELD 10 JANUARY 2023

The public was invited to attend the Rate Payers Meeting in January - only 48 people attended. The municipal manager confirmed the following:
Valuation adjustments are always done according to SPLUMA (Spatial Planning & Land Use Management Act) and the Property Rates Act;
As your property value increase, your rates will increase;
Valuations are done every 5 years - thereafter, adjustments are done;
If your valuation don’t comply with SPLUMA, you will be penalised with a 4 month backdated adjustment;
Please note in terms of section 49(1)(a)(ii) of the act, any property owner, or any other person who so desires, can lodge an objection in this regard. The objection must be in relation to a specific individual property and not against the entire valuation roll as such.

OBJECTIONS

Residents can raise an objection - download the objection form from the MLM website. The objection must include your reasons for the objection together with any evidence in support thereof. It is recommended that you keep a second copy that is signed by officials as an objection receipt and request an objection number for reference. Your account has to be paid up for an objection to be lodged and investigated. Withholding payment is deemed unlawful. Many has resorted to paying the previous amount while raising their objection - make sure that the accounts department is aware of this and that you are willing to cooperate.

APPEALS OR DISPUTES

The municipal valuator will consider the objection and either make an adjustment to the valuation roll, alternatively, dismiss the objection. If the municipal valuator adjusts the value by more than 10% the objection will automatically be submitted to the Valuation Appeal Board for a compulsory review. The municipal valuator will advise one in writing as to what the valuator’s decision is. The objector is entitled to request written reasons for the valuator’s decision within 30 days of the decision. The valuator has 30 days to provide written reasons. One then has 21 days thereafter to appeal the valuator’s decision should one be unhappy with that decision.
Appeals must be lodged in the prescribed manner with the Municipal Manager who is obliged to refer the appeal to the Chairperson of the Appeals Board within 14 days after receiving the Appeal.
The Chairman of the Appeals Board will convene a meeting of the Appeals Board within 60 days after the Appeal has been forwarded to the Chairperson. The Chairman of the Appeals Board will inform all parties concerned of the date and venue where the appeal hearing will take place. The Appeals Board decision will be published.
A template document is available upon request from HCS. Email: hoedspruitcs@gmail.com

REVALUATION OF PROPERTIES

Residents are allowed to request a revaluation of their property from the municipality. A fee and applicable adjustments will appear on the new statement after the process has been completed. The fee is estimated to be around R1250. (No feedback on the fee received from MLM)

LEGAL ASSISTANCE

In the event where valuation adjustments are still incorrect in terms of the acts mentioned above, a resident can seek legal recourse. Residents can approach a lawyer individually or as part of a group and file a lawsuit against the municipality. This is referred to as a class action lawsuit. The lawyer will be able to provide details on the costs and legal procedures going forward. The group can approach HCS for the contact information received from affiliate partners of a knowledgeable experts who can assist in this matter. HCS will assist only in a supportive and/or informative capacity - we are not a legal organisation and cannot file a lawsuit on behalf of residents.

HCS has been asked to assist with some objections and the majority of these were resolved by the municipality. Other objections were simply not valid - for example, a resident selling their property for R5m but complains about paying an adjustment because it appeared incorrectly as R1m on the previous GVR. The current “strength” of our property market is a strong attraction for investment opportunities but problematic when rates affordability is taken into account. The general prediction is that this will affect the property market going forward and increase the demand for low- to medium cost housing.

The municipal manager was kind enough to publish another public notice to invite residents to follow up on the status of their objection. You can whatsapp a brief message to 078 797 9849, for example: “Erf 1234, Ext 12 Wildlife: No Reponse”.

It is our hope that all the issues will be resolved amicably. If not, we are here to assist in resolving the matter.

Take care of yourselves and each other.

Lizmari Wolmarans

Chairperson

083 459 0526


/ HCS Rates - Press Release - 2023.10.05

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