City to probe property rates evaluation concerns
A senior official of the City of Johannesburg’s Group Finance Department earlier this week promised to personally investigate cases in which ratepayers suspected grave errors had been committed in the evaluation of their properties.
Kgamanyane Maphologela, Director of Communications and Stakeholder Management, made the commitment at a Property Rates Policy review meeting held at the Roodepoort Civic Centre in Region C.
During the meeting, several property owners said they wanted clarity on how evaluations were conducted and about who qualified for rebates. One resident said he had been sent from pillar to post when he tried to have the evaluation on his property reviewed. “I bought the property in 1976 for R28 000. I objected to the R1.2-million evaluation but got another one for R2.04-million. It’s the same property where I have lived for 39 years,” he said.
A Ward 127 resident said despite making 14 attempts to have the R600 000 evaluation on his property corrected, he had had no joy in having it reviewed. “Next time you have such a forum, please bring representatives of City Power, Johannesburg Road Agency, Johannesburg Water to answer our questions,” he said.
In response, Maphologela said the City was aware of the concerns and questions around the property evaluation process, and asked residents to forward their queries and complaints to him. “It is important for the City to respond to clients’ queries and follow up. The process has to be transparent for us to resolve these matters. We have to come back to you on your queries on evaluations. Waiting three to four years for a response of such queries is unacceptable,” he said.
Nic du Plessis, chairman of the Wilgeheuwel Retirement Village, said 700 of the complex’s 1 000 residents were battling to get rebates. “We have had untold problems on classification, evaluation and rates accounts. We are not asking for any favours; we are only asking to be treated equally,” he said.
Pumza Jack, the City’s Rates Policy specialist, urged Du Plessis to forward his comments to her department and assured him they would be attended to promptly. Other issues raised included the illegal operations of businesses in residential areas and the penalties those doing so risked.
Jack said property owners could always apply for the rezoning of their properties.
Residents have until Friday February 27 to send comments or queries to RatesComments@joburg.org.za or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A series of similar meetings will be held in the various regions of the city until Wednesday February 25.
A draft property rates policy will be drawn from the public comments and suggestions. The draft will be presented to residents during the second phase of the consultation process in April.