Ekurhuleni property values increase: Only two more weeks to object
The City of Ekurhuleni has published its valuation roll for the 2021-2025 cycle on 24 February this year, but many Ekurhuleni residents still seem to be unaware of their properties’ updated value and the fact that it will come into effect on 1 July 2021. In many instances, property values were increased exorbitantly, which could result in an increase of hundreds and even thousands of Rands on residents’ July municipal bill.
Ekurhuleni property owners only have until 18 June 2021 to lodge formal objections to the new valuations by way of a formal prescribed process. Failure to formally object, will result in the valuation roll being accepted as correct.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has been inundated with complaints about the increased valuations, according to Brendan Slade, legal project manager at OUTA. “Although the City of Ekurhuleni has not raised property rates for the 2021/2022 financial year, they found another way of increasing municipal income through increased property values. Increased property values will mean that increased property rates will be payable from 1 July 2021, and it seems that many Ekurhuleni residents are unaware of this.”
Property owners who are unhappy with the metro’s updated value of their property, only have until 18 June 2021 to lodge a formal complaint. According to Slade, the process is cumbersome, and the issue may not be resolved by 1 July 2021, when the new rates will come into effect.
“Therefore, OUTA has teamed up with the Bedfordview Residents Action Group (RAG) to determine the extent of the valuation roll fallout and to mobilise residents across Ekurhuleni to hold the City of Ekurhuleni to account,” he explains.
“It is clear to us that the erroneous entries on the valuation roll are not merely isolated incidents. In cooperation with RAG, the input from our supporters and Ekurhuleni residents alike will reveal crucial data on the extent of the problems.”
According to Marina Constas, RAG chairperson, many Ekurhuleni residents believe that their properties have been incorrectly valued. “Hundreds of objections from Bedfordview residents alone have been received, and RAG has joined forces with various other stakeholders, including OUTA and several Bedfordview residents’ associations to ensure that our community’s concerns are heard and acted upon by the municipality,” she explains.
Constas says it is concerning that residents will be forced to pay hundreds and sometimes even several thousand Rand more in rates because of a flawed and inaccurate valuation roll. “RAG has been calling for a detailed record of the tender process for the outsourced company that undertook the valuations, but to no avail.”
Concerned property owners have pointed out that the updated valuation roll reflects numerous errors, including unreasonable increases (some as high as 2615%) and decreases in property values. In other cases, the role reflects decreases between 10% and 80%. There is also inconsistency, with valuations of similar properties in the same suburbs differing drastically on the roll, according to RAG.
RAG’s attempts to engage with the City’s Municipal Manager on the irregularities with the roll so far yielded no results. “The city remains indifferent to the residents’ concerns and has not provided any meaningful response. We have already lodged 2 500 formal objections on behalf of Edenvale and Germiston property owners alone.”
“We want to add that our residents will no longer tolerate abysmal service delivery, nor will we put up with irrational and unreasonable decisions by Ekurhuleni officials who are in fact there to serve us.”
Slade says it is up to the residents of Ekurhuleni to tackle the issue head on. “Should the city not give cognisance to the residents’ concerns, OUTA will consider possible court action against the city to ensure the erroneous valuation roll is rectified before it comes into effect. It is an unfortunate reality that civil society has to revert to litigation in order to rectify blatant errors caused by a municipality.”
OUTA and RAG also warned that merely signing a petition against the increased property values will not change anything. Residents who want to object, will have to lodge formal objections with the city.
A soundclip with comment from Brendan Slade is here.