OUTA calls on CoJ to freeze contested property valuations increases
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has written to the City of Johannesburg asking for rates increases based on reassessed property values to be suspended until the objection process is finalised.
Though property owners may have sighed with relief when MMC of Finance, Dada Morero, announced an increase in property rates of only 2% earlier this month, OUTA warns that this increase excludes the valuations increase posed by the recent General Valuation Roll (GVR) of 2023.
OUTA wants the City to hold off on increases linked to the updated valuations where objections have been lodged until these have been resolved.
“The looming rates increase is a major concern with regards to the sustainability and affordability for Johannesburg ratepayers, as this is on top of already exorbitant increases in other City tariffs. Semigration is real and people and businesses are leaving the City to live in municipalities where it is cheaper and safer, where they can protect their asset value and where they get good services for the money they pay,” says Julius Kleynhans, OUTA’s Executive Manager for Social Innovation.
In the letter, OUTA raised concern over the turnaround time by the City in addressing objections before the new rates apply as well as the credibility of the method used to determine the rates of 934 652 properties within the City.
“We do believe that the method used by the City’s valuers may have resulted in mistakes with regards to fairness and reasonableness on certain property values. This poses significant financial implications for these property owners. We believe it would be fair for the objection process to be finalised before rates increases are applied,” says Kleynhans.
“With this in mind, and the recent disruptions within the City that had a direct effect on service delivery, we asked the City to consider flagging all accounts which have logged a formal objection to the new proposed valuations within the GVR 2023 and to apply only the 2% property rates increase until such an objection has been resolved,” says Kleynhans.
OUTA believes that this process will bring relief to residents and businesses and create a fair process until a credible conclusion has been reached between the CoJ and the particular ratepayer.
OUTA acknowledged the amended property rates relief to pensioners within the City and thanked the City for its consideration and implementation of this to assist the elderly.
A soundclip with comment by OUTA Social Innovation Executive Julius Kleynhans is here.
A copy of the letter OUTA sent to COJ is here.
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