Property rates policy ignored by Municipality

THABAZIMBI – In a letter addressed to the Municipal Manager of the Thabazimbi Municipality, Mr. Nkhumise, regarding the Thabazimbi Municipality-Property Rates and Related Information for the 2008/2009 Financial Year, the Thabazimbi Chairpersons Forum said it is with great concern that the organization has not received a copy of the Thabazimbi Municipality Property Rates Policy for 2008/2009. This information was requested in their letters addressed to the Municipal Manager, dated 14 August 2008, 22 September 2008 and 2 November 2008. This request was made again in the meeting on 22 December 2008. To this day their request was in total blatantly ignored.
According to Mr JC Viljoen, chairman of this Forum, a copy of the Rates Policy was issued for comment at the public meeting with stakeholders on 3 February 2009. In this meeting, it was made clear that the document issued, was the official document to be commented on. However, the document provided for comment is not available on the web-site, as called for the Act No. 6 of 2004, neither were the stakeholders informed about the closing date for comments to be submitted. Similarly, no advertisement appeared in the press to date, calling for comment on the document.
He said that from the actions of the Thabazimbi Municipality to date, it is clear that the Council never approved a Property Rates Policy as called for the Act, it approved the Rates Schedule at its Council Meeting for implementation.
The above statements follow from the following:
During August 2007 an advertisement was placed in Die Kwêvoël, calling for comments on the Draft RATES POLICY; 1 JULY 2008 – 30 JUNE 2009. The document commented on, is a copy sourced from Lephalale Municipality and implemented after due process of public consultation by that Municipality.
As a result of the catastrophy the Municipality had with the Valuators during 2007, resulting in the cancelation of the contract you appointed HCB Valuators. Part of the brief issued to Mr Hennie Botha, of HCB Valuators, was to redraft the Rates Policy on behalf of the Municipality. This brief was confirmed during a meeting with the Mayor during February 2008. Mr Botha accordingly compiled a new document, which in total differed from the previous document.
During March 2008, an advertisement was once again placed in Die Kwêvoël, calling for comments on the Draft Rates Policy. This document was the newly drafted document compiled by Mr Botha.
Neither of the two Draft Policies went through a process of public consultation, as called for in Act No 6 of 2004.
On 3 February 2009, a Rates Policy was once again issued at the stakeholders meeting. Without checking it verbatim, this copy is probably a duplication of the Draft Policy issued in August 2007.(The Lephalale document)
From the above it is clear that at present the Thabazimbi Municipality acts in ignorance with respect to the Rates Policy(which is not in place in our view), and is raising property taxes, without complying to the requirements of the Act regulating this issue.
Viljoen concluded by saying that it is a concern to his orginisation that the Thabazimbi Municipality blatantly refuse to respond to correspondence directed to it. Secondly it ignores all principles reflected in legislation, regulating and the implementation of property tax.