Trol­lip stands firm on prop­erty val­u­a­tions

Mayor ex­plains why Nel­son Man­dela Bay rates are high­est in SA

The Herald (South Africa) - - NEWS - Siyamthanda Capa and Devon Koen ca­pas@ti­soblack­star.co.za

THE haves must pay for the have-nots. This is why ratepay­ers in Nel­son Man­dela Bay fork out the high­est tar­iffs in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to mayor Athol Trol­lip. In an ex­clu­sive interview with The Her­ald this week, Trol­lip said in­equal­ity in the Bay was so vast that only 10% of the pop­u­la­tion qual­i­fied to pay rates.

About 90% of house­holds de­pended on as­sis­tance from the metro, he said.

In re­cent months, the coali­tion govern­ment has been lam­basted for what home own­ers be­lieve were ir­reg­u­lar prop­erty val­u­a­tions which re­sulted in enor­mous rates tar­iffs.

The public back­lash in­ten­si­fied this week as it emerged that the city had the most ex­pen­sive prop­erty rates in the coun­try.

Speak­ing from his Walmer home on Wed­nes­day, Trol­lip said: “We do pay high rates in Nel­son Man­dela Bay, but we have one of the small­est rates bases in the whole coun­try.

“Only 10% of the pop­u­la­tion that live in the city pay rates, and 90% of the peo­ple get as­sis­tance to the poor sup­port from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“Ninety per­cent are not qual­i­fied to pay rates [be­cause] ei­ther they don’t own houses or they live in RDP houses.” He said his ad­min­is­tra­tion would not apol­o­gise for prop­er­ties in­creas­ing in value. “That’s what we want. “Ev­ery­one who owns a home wants the home to in­crease in value, ex­cept when they have to pay rates,” he said.

“We un­der­stand that the rates bur­den is enor­mous, but the thing that ev­ery­body needs to un­der­stand is that we have a le­gacy and a his­tory where black peo­ple lived in ar­eas far from the city cen­tre and we have to re­dress that.

“The only way is to make sure we have enough rev­enue com­ing in . . . to pro­vide proper ser­vices.

“We ac­tu­ally have to re­dress the past and make sure we have enough rev­enue to pro­vide the ser­vices that peo­ple ex­pect and de­serve across all com­mu­ni­ties. If you own a prop­erty you pay rates be­cause that’s what the law states.

“If your prop­erty is eval­u­ated and grow­ing in value ev­ery year your as­set is grow­ing, and the higher it grows in value the more rates you’re going to pay.” ANC bud­get and trea­sury coun­cil­lor Rory Riordan said: “It is . . . ut­ter non­sense.

“There are roughly 300 000 prop­er­ties in the metro.

“[Of th­ese] 108 000 fall un­der the as­sis­tance to the poor pro­gramme while be­tween 60 000 and 70 000 are commercial prop­er­ties which pay rates.

“Es­sen­tially there are about 200 000 prop­er­ties pay­ing rates.” The metro’s po­lit­i­cal head of bud­get and trea­sury, Retief Oden­daal, said by the end of Fe­bru­ary there were 25 388 house­holds re­ceiv­ing an ATTP sub­sidy.

The lat­est progress re­port on the ver­i­fi­ca­tion process showed that by the end of last month 4 976 qual­i­fied for ATTP, while the rest were ei­ther dis­qual­i­fied or still had to be ver­i­fied.

Trol­lip said the peo­ple who paid rates got world-class ser­vices.

“In parts of the city, in Walmer [for ex­am­ple], you have an airport on your doorstep, ac­cess to shops, the streets are good,” he said.

“There are very few pot­holes. There are great schools. You’ve got to pay for that. That’s how it works.”

Asked if he thought the charges were fair, Trol­lip said: “The rates are fair, what is un­fair is that only 10% of the peo­ple pay rates, but it is a le­gacy of the past, ad­van­taged and dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties.

“We want to grow our econ­omy so more and more peo­ple are pay­ing rates so we can re­duce that bur­den.”

Re­gard­ing prop­erty val­u­a­tions, Riordan said: “The new sys­tem is flawed in that is­sues such as the state of prop­er­ties were not taken into ac­count.

“The val­u­a­tions are un­even. Ev­ery prop­erty has seen an in­crease of 13% and in some cases even more.”

“The poor and peo­ple liv­ing in town­ships are the ones who suf­fer the most, where some peo­ple had been pay­ing R100 in rates they are now pay­ing al­most R200.”

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