2008-04-30: Joburg to audit its own valuation roll and process
Johannesburg is to audit its General Valuation Roll during May and June to ensure that the whole valuation process has been fair, accurate and balanced, according to the City's Director: Valuation Services Werner Sarvari.
"The audit will be undertaken by external as well as internal auditors. We are doing this to verify the objections and the enquiries regarding the new General Valuation Roll, and also to check into the whole valuation process and the accuracy and uniformity of the valuation roll," he says.
The General Valuation Roll is the first done by the City since 2001 and is a significant departure from the past in that properties are now valued based on the composite market value (land plus improvements) rather than land only. The new General Valuation Roll comprises almost 800 000 individual properties exceeding R700 billion in value.
The General Valuation Roll opened for objections on 27 February and closes at 16h30 on 27 May.
By mid-April, the City's website had received almost 47 000 visits from interested parties, says Sarvari. "We have also received around 4 000 written enquiries and 11,172 people have visited our participating Customer Service Centres to physically inspect the General Valuation Roll.
To date, the City has received 3,207 objections, still well below the international benchmark for objections against municipal valuations, says Sarvari. "I think we will see a surge in enquiries and submissions closer to the 27 May deadline, so I would like to encourage all property owners to check their entry in the Valuation Roll (on the City's website at www.joburg.org.za and select the option for e-services) and to lodge their objection as soon as possible."
Sarvari says property owners will have to pay rates using the valuation in the new Roll until such time as their objection has been adjudicated. "This means an objector must pay rates even if he or she has lodged an objection. That's why it is so important for property owners to lodge their objections as soon as possible." The Municipal Property Rates Act allows for refunds (including interest) on objections that are successful.
The City's Valuation Services Directorate will attempt to complete the adjudication of objections as soon as possible after being received. "It's not possible to say how long it will take for each objection to be considered and a decision made. It obviously depends on the complexity of the objection and the quality of evidence provided with the submission."
Sarvari says the City aims to try and complete the adjudication of all objections within 9 months from the closing date (27 May)."We are also submitting relevant objections for final review to the Appeal Board in batches and not just after the objection review period," says Sarvari. "This approach will definitely assist to ensure a speedy objection and appeal process."