Lombardy judgement has far-reaching effects Print E-mail
News - Aktueel
Friday, 07 December 2018 10:12
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The provincial government has invoked section 106 of the Municipal Systems Act to address the non-performance and maladministration of the City of Tshwane. This was announced on
20 November by the member of the executive council (MEC) for Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs in Gauteng.

On 31 October, Adams & Adams, the attorneys for the Lombardy group of litigants who had obtained the order setting aside the 2012 and 2013 valuation rolls, issued a Contempt of Court application for the imprisonment of the city’s Municipal Manager, following on the persistent failure to give effect to the High Court order to refund the illegal rates and the city’s failure to follow through on its promise made earlier in October.

In August 2017 we reported that a community consortium was formed to fund a legal challenge to the City of Tshwane’s rate changes, based on a category change of agriculturally zoned properties to the residential rating category.

The consortium was formed when about 250 people turned up at a meeting in Tierpoort on 3 August 2017. The meeting also approved the ongoing discussions with WeCanWin to include the claims of about 5 000 additional claimants against the city on account of the vacant lands Lombardy judgement, which was in favour of the community that set aside the 2012 supplementary valuation roll in respect of the unlawful recategorisation of residential property to vacant land with a punitive rate of six times that of residential property.

According to Lex Middelberg from the Tshwane Money Matters Caucus (TMMC), the city administration has now chosen to rather enter an appearance to oppose the contempt proceedings and created an extraordinary valuation roll, purporting to retrospectively revalue and recategorise many of the affected properties in an attempt to create another set of legal disputes to delay the refunding of ratepayers.

Lex Middelberg

“It is a blatant disregard to the very first clause of our constitution that we are a country founded on the constitution and the rule of law that precludes the creation of retrospective legislation and taxation,” Lex said.

He said that the real issue behind this is the fact that the city simply cannot refund ratepayers at all.

The city’s debtors’ book has grown from R7 billion, inherited from the previous administration after 20 years, to R12 billion. As a result of the financial constrains following on this collapse in the revenue management, National Treasury has declared Tshwane to be in financial distress and imposed a financial rescue package on the city. This is effectively the first level of administration, Lex said.

He said that there is no legal reason why all ratepayers who have similarly been affected by the city’s illegal supplementary valuation rolls should not be treated equally and be refunded equally and all at the same time.

For more information phone Lex Middelberg, chairman: Tshwane Money Matters Caucus, at
083-627-3713 or Henri du Toit, chairman: WeCanWin Initiative, at 082-445-0381.

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