2008-08-28: Comments made by the official opposition regarding the MPRA
We note, with regret, comments made today by the official opposition regarding the City’s implementation of the Municipal Property Rates Act (MPRA).
SECTIONAL TITLE ADDRESSES
We have worked very hard to ensure that the implementation of the MPRA went smoothly. In all, we registered more than 780 000 individual properties in the City and we estimate that just more than 3 percent of these (around 30 000) have problems with their new accounts. We feel that even 30 000 problems are too many but in the context of the complex environment in which the implementation took place, we are satisfied that we have kept the problems to a minimum.
Customers most affected by the MPRA implementation have been the 156 000 Sectional Title properties in the City. To give context to this, the City has never ever had Sectional Title property owners as customers. We previously dealt with about 4 000 or so Body Corporates or Managing Agents. Since the MPRA requires us to issue rates accounts to individual Sectional Title property owners. Now we have had to register a new category or property owner with no means to get the addresses other than to appeal to each Sectional Title property owner to approach us and give us their address.
Over the past 12 months we have run an extensive campaign of communication and consultation with the Sectional Title property owners, managing agents, body corporates and even the National Association of Managing Agents of South Africa.
We have gathered only about one third (about 50 000) of the total number of addresses we required in terms of Sectional Title properties. In addition a further 15 000 addresses we received, we were not able to match to our GIS system (which is the first step required in terms of creating a rates account in the City).
The balance of addresses we received with either
- received in writing and the writing is illegible;
- customers have included their street address but not the unit numbers of their property;
- customers have included their unit numbers and name of their complex but not the street address
- many forms we received did not have phone or email numbers to enable us to contact them for clarification.
We therefore would like to take this opportunity to appeal to our residents who own Sectional Title properties to please contact us so that we can ensure that they get their rates accounts timeously.
In the absence of a property address for individual Sectional Title property owners, we will continue to send the accounts to the last registered address we have for the owners – namely their Body Corporate or Managing Agent. And in this regard we appeal to the Bodies Corporate and managing agents to continue to assist us with collecting the addresses of individual unit owners.
RATES REBATE APPLICATIONS FOR PENSIONERS LIVING IN SECTIONAL TITLE PROPERTIES
As a result of the problems with getting Sectional Title addresses, the City has been made aware that some pensioners who tried to apply for a rates rebate were turned away from Customer Service Centres as they did not have their account numbers yet. This should not have happened and managers concerned have been requested to address the matter immediately.
The City is pleased to announce that the deadline for rates rebate applications for pensioners living in Sectional Title properties will be extended from 31 August 2008 to Tuesday 30th September 2008 to accommodate pensioners who may have been disadvantaged. The City would like to urge all those pensioners who feel that they may qualify for a rebate to act immediately and submit their applications to any Customer Service Centre.
In addition to extending the deadline, certain Customer Service Centres will open for extra hours – from 4pm to 6pm daily from 15th September to 30th September. During this time the centres will specifically deal with address issues, not only for Sectional Title property owners, but also for any customers who would like to update their details and address.
Again, we would like to urge all our customers to take advantage of this service and to provide us with their correct details.
The participating Customer Service Centres for the EXTENDED HOURS are:
1) Midrand Customer Service Centre
300 Fifthteenth Road
2) Sandton Civic Centre
Corner West & Rivonia Road
3) Randburg Civic Centre
Corner Hendrick Verwoed & Jan Smuts Roads
4) Ennerdale Ext 9 Customer Service Centre
Corner Katz & Smith Walk Road
5) Jabulani Civic Centre
1 Koma Road
6) Lenasia Civic Centre
Corner Rose Avenue & Eland Street
7) Roodepoort Civic Centre
100 Christiaan de Wet Road
8) Thuso House Customer Service Centre
61 Jorissen Street
9) Eureka Customer Service Centre
Corner Glenroy and Pioneer Roads
Pioneer Park, Springfield
10) Eldorado Park Customer Service Centre
The City would like to clarify the matter of what portions of the bill appear on a rates account. Initially, during the Rates Policy debate it was proposed that only rates would be levied to all customers (and therefore it was communicated like this during our engagements with various Sectional Title property stakeholders). However, just as the policy was to be approved by Council, it was decided to amend this recommendation to include sewage and refuse collection since those tariffs are based soley on the rates charged on individual property owner. And this is then included in the policy that was approved by Council during March this year.
The City would like to assure its customers that we are keeping a close eye on the revenue collection functions of the City and we are satisfied that we do not have “billing chaos” in Joburg. On the contrary, our City has been held up as a model in terms of the MPRA implementation. Certainly we have had problems and issues, but these are being attended to.
Release on behalf of MMC for Finance and Economic Development: Clr Parks Tau by:
Director: Revenue and Customer Relations
Tel: (011) 358-3420
Fax: (011) 358-3639