Bronberg residents close wallets PDF Print E-mail
News - Aktueel
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 22:25
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Bronberg residents decided to close their wallets to the Tshwane municipal council’s vacant land rates. The decision was made when about 350 angry residents held an urgent public meeting at Laerskool Tygerpoort on Monday 10 September.

The meeting was arranged by the ward councillors of wards 91 and 101, Lex Middelberg and André van der Walt, in response to a community outcry after residents received their municipal accounts reflecting the new rates and retrospective adjustments, backdated to 1 July last year.

Ex-Kungwini residents’ rates were increased without notice or a public participation process from a low base of 2¢ in the rand by about 250%.

At the meeting it was resolved to form a task team to direct the community’s future efforts to have the vacant land rates invalidated by the High Court. The task team members elected were Thinus Nel, Elke Roos, Rinus Buys, Eamonn O’Rourke, Wynand Roos and Dawie Malan.

Largest
According to André, wards 91 and 101 are the two wards where the largest number of residents are affected by the enormous rates increase on vacant land, although the issue affects all ex-Metsweding residents.

In addition, developers and first-time buyers have had to foot the bill for infrastructure and services that are usually a municipality’s responsibility.

At 6¢ in the rand, Tshwane’s new rates are the highest vacant land property rates in South Africa. By comparison, Cape Town rates vacant land at a mere 1¢ in the rand and even Johannesburg charges only 2¢ in the rand.

Tshwane’s vacant land rate is the same as the penalty rate for illegal land use that has been declared illegal by a recent High Court judgement. The High Court had found that a punitive rate could not be imposed without a due process.

Slowdown
Lex said that already virtually all development in ward 91 and 101, a growth node for the city, had come to a standstill due to the economic slowdown. He said that ‘The Hills’ development on Garsfontein Road extension is a perfect example. The developer had been liquidated before the development was completed and now buyers of stands cannot build, yet they are expected to pay the punitive vacant stands rates.

As a result property values are plummeting and properties that were sold at R500,000 just three years ago are now selling for a mere R80,000 and in some cases recent auctions of repossessed properties have failed to realise sales at any price.

Dispute
According to the councillors, residents who disputed the rates increase should first declare a dispute with the municipality and they should at least continue to pay their old rates until the dispute is resolved.

A form to use as a guide to assist residents to formulate and submit their disputes are available on the Apies River Foundation website at www.wecanwin.co.za. Registering at this website will keep you updated with the issue of vacant land rates throughout the city.

 

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