OUTA’s Community Action Network (CAN) initiative has called on the City of Johannesburg to provide property owners with clearer information on the process of revaluing their properties.
OUTA asked the City to ensure that meaningful public participation takes place and that the administrative burden is reduced by giving more clarity to property owners on what information they need to submit to the City to ensure an accurate and fair property valuation.
It is crucial that property owners ensure that the City gets the valuations right, as property rates are calculated on the valuation.
In a statement
on 7 November, the City of Johannesburg asked Johannesburg property owners to send their property information to CoJ before implementing the General Valuation Roll for 2023 (GVR 2023).
According to Tshepo Kgaladi, Inland Regional Manager for CAN, property owners should be afforded a fair opportunity to participate in the property valuation process. “The City has given 900 000 property owners 19 days to submit details of their properties to the City to assist in the accuracy and fairness of this process. However, the communication from the City is very vague on what information is required and where property owners should submit such information. If the City does not follow a more meaningful and transparent public participation process, there is a high probability that the valuation roll will face a legal challenge driven by upset residents who would rightly feel that their ability to object to excessive increases was undermined.”
OUTA believes that this public engagement is vague and will not achieve what it set out to do.
“We believe that it would be in the best interest of the City to review this statement and come up with a clearer and more effective communication,” says Kgaladi.
The City has sent notices to property owners of the intended valuations, but if the owners do not receive these it is unclear how they will find out the City’s valuation of their properties.
Julius Kleynhans, Executive Manager for Social Innovation at OUTA, says the organisation has asked the City to consider extending the submission date to 15 December 2022 and providing more clarity on what is expected of property owners from now to the implementation date of the new valuations roll on 1 July 2023. “People need to be given simplified and efficient means to participate. We have seen how these kinds of processes have been run roughshod in the past, ending up in litigious matters. It must be avoided. Property rates must be fair and, if not, property owners should be able to dispute them,” says Kleynhans.
OUTA’s letter included the following requests:
• Extend the deadline date from 25 November to at least 15 December;
• Provide clear timelines on the whole valuation roll process ending 1 July 2023;
• Provide a downloadable form as well as an online form that will guide property owners to submit the correct information that is required to ensure an accurate valuation of their property;
• Provide the public with the correct contact details to submit information as requested.
Update the City’s website to cater for the valuation roll for 2023 (it currently only has information of the 2018
valuation and supplementary valuations
“We believe that by taking these necessary actions, the City will better position itself for a streamlined valuation roll process and avoid breaching its responsibility to ensure meaningful public participation and administrative burdens,” says Kgaladi.
A copy of the letter can be found here