Trollip stands firm on property valuations
Mayor explains why Nelson Mandela Bay rates are highest in SA
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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