News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
18 Aug 2018
7:15 am

Tshwane taken to court

Ilse de Lange

The city was challenged over massively increased fees for access restriction applications.

Tshwane City Manager Moeketsi Mosola and Tshwane's Executive Mayor, Solly Msimanga are seen during a press briefing at Tshwane House, 15 August 2018, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

An organisation called Residents Against Crime has taken the Tshwane municipality to court to challenge the city’s massively increased fees for access restriction applications, saying it was a strategy to discourage such applications and discriminated against less wealthy areas.

The application was postponed indefinitely in the High Court in Pretoria this week, to give the city an opportunity to oppose the application.

The organisation wants the court to set aside the city’s new administrative fee for access restriction applications in its 2017 budget and to replace it with the same fees as those charged by Johannesburg metro.

Alternatively, it wants the court to refer the issue back to the city for reconsideration, but taking into account that the fee must be proportional to the actual administrative costs incurred.

The organisation will also seek a punitive costs order against the DA-run municipality, which it claimed was acting in bad faith and unlawfully, by charging exorbitant rates to balance its budget deficit and to discourage applications for access restriction by making them unaffordable.

Residents Against Crime committee member Jan Malan said in court papers the administrative fee set in Tshwane’s new budget was vastly different from the fees charges in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni for exactly the same administrative process.

In Johannesburg, an access restricted area with 100 houses and four entrances (a typical access restricted area) would pay R15 155 for a new application and R9 090 for a re-application every two years.

The same area in Pretoria would pay R46 000 for a new application and R26 000 per re-application.

The same area in Ekurhuleni would pay only R2 800 for both an application and a re-application, making Pretoria’s tariff 300% more expensive than Johannesburg’s.

The applicant with the most households in Pretoria, Constantia Glen, which had 11 000 households and 11 entrances, would pay 1 361% more for a new application than in Johannesburg and 10 214% more than in Ekurhuleni.

He said access restriction assisted the police, as they did not have to patrol such areas and greatly assisted the city to save on the replacement of stolen copper which was eradicated in such areas.

“Such access restrictions save the respondent money, yet (they) wish to charge … applicants exorbitant amounts to assume responsibility for their own safety and security…

“The [city] is unable to meet its constitutional obligations in this regard … forcing [residents] to implement access restriction measures at their own cost,” he said.

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