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By Editorial staff

Journalist


Mashaba’s warning on current rates fiasco should not be ignored

The stress it is causing homeowners is taking its toll.


You always have to take a scorned employee’s comments about their former employers with a pinch of salt, but Action SA leader and former Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s warning on the current rates fiasco should not be ignored.

Thousands of homeowners across Johannesburg are spitting mad after bloated increases in their property valuations have seen them having to fork out far more for their monthly rates. It comes at a time when food and fuel prices are rising, the repo rate keeps climbing and unemployment is at an all-time high.

ALSO READ: Johannesburg homeowners uproar over soaring property rates

Council insists that the process will be completed by September but to date only 18 000 of the 42 000 objections lodged with them have been dealt with.

Mashaba said: “Nothing will come of anyone’s objections and they will just go ahead and do their own thing anyway. The city is running out of money and inflated valuations are simply a money-making racket to sap more money out of citizens.”

Michelle Cohen, principal of LeapFrog property Group was equally concerned, saying “in many instances there is a grotesque valuation”.

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She added: “It is clear the municipality has not bothered to realistically evaluate properties and imposed punitive rate increases on homeowners. Genuine hardship is being caused and objections are simply ignored.”

The stress it is causing homeowners is taking its toll.

People over 60 may claim a rebate of R1.5 million on their property value – and pay rates on the amount above that. The pensioner may qualify for a rebate of either 50% or 100% on rates. Those over the age of 70 will qualify for a 100% rebate on a value up to R2 million.

It’s all well and good for council to say you must pay the full amount now, and you will be credited later if your objection is successful. But it’s tough out there, and few have extra money.

This logistical nightmare could have been handled far better.

ALSO READ: Durban residents pay more in property rates