Residents reporting massive increases in property valuations – DA Joburg

Some have seen an increase in their property values of up to 150% above actual market values

DA Calls for Johannesburg rate review to prevent city’s financial collapse

1 August 2023

The DA Caucus in Johannesburg urgently called on the MMC of Finance, Cllr Dada Morero, to review the implementation of increased rates. These rates were announced as a result of a revaluation done by the city.

Councillors have been inundated with calls from panicked residents regarding confusion brought on by the General Valuation Roll increases. These increases have resulted in higher rates and tariffs, as well as changes to pensioner rebates, that are currently still open for submission.

We note the notice that went out on 31 July 2023 wherein the city advises residents that the objection period to the changes has reopened, however as per usual the city is mum on the outcome of the objections that have already been submitted.

Some residents have seen an increase in their property values of up to 150% above current market values. This proves to be wholly irrational, as certain properties couldn’t be sold at their true market value, and following the city’s flawed logic, the very same property would now be worth more than double its original valuation.

The DA is deeply concerned with the way this revaluation exercise has been completed this year, the anomalies that are propping up, are evidence of either a flaw in the system, or of the complete disregard with which the city handles its duties.

While residents grapple with serious failures in service delivery, they are expected to cough up more money for fewer services at highly inflated rates.

We are of the view that if the implementation of rates increases isn’t drastically reviewed, the city will collapse due to a mass exodus of high rate paying areas who are selling below market value, in an effort to leave the city in their numbers. Residents are struggling to pay their rates as is and increasing them will not result in higher revenue collection.

To avoid total collapse of the city’s revenue collection, the DA urgently requests that the MMC urgently reviews the way the revaluations were done and proposes the following:

Pause the new rate increases implementation while the valuation roll is re-opened, allowing residents to pay rates on the previous value of their property while objections & pensioner rebates assessments are being done;

Check whether the system they use is malfunctioning, or whether it was only a desktop exercise done with revaluations and to rectify immediately, once again, it is impossible that properties are now being valued in excess of 150% of the current market value;

An urgent review of sewerage charges. An increase of 9.3% is advertised but residents are seeing up to a 200% increase in their sewerage charges. The rebate must apply to both residents on ESP and pensioners;

Make section 71 reports available to Councillors as a matter of urgency.

The DA calls on the MMC to deal with billing issues and consider the above proposals to avoid a collapse of the City. We will continue to fight for fairness for all our residents and to ensure that this administration cannot use a billing system as a cover for corruption at the expense of our residents.

Issued by Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku, DA Caucus Leader in Johanneburg, 1 August 2023