Robin Emslie, Rondevlei:
We wish to object in the strongest possible terms to the George Municipality's removal of the last remaining rebate in its latest statement (27.07.2018) completing a sequence of rate rebate removals which commenced in 2015. The figures below (extracted from your invoicing to us since 2014) show that our rates have more than tripled over those five years.
As recorded in previous correspondence and interchanges over that period, we also object to the principle of being charged rates at all, when in Rondevlei we receive no municipal services of any description from George Municipality. Essential requirements such as the supply of potable water, sewage disposal and refuse removal are provided by ourselves at our own cost. You don't supply electricity (we purchase directly from Eskom at agricultural rates), nor roads and pavements (the dirt roads in the area are sustained by Garden Route District).
Additionally, this is not only unfair and unreasonable, but against the Constitution of South Africa which in Clause 229 (1) states "… a municipality may impose rates on property and surcharges on fees for services provided by or on behalf of the municipality…."
In the light of the above we request that the decision to remove the 20% rebate for properties like ours which are described as Farms is reversed and that we are re-invoiced accordingly. Ongoing we urge the municipality to consider other ways of providing appropriate rate differentials for areas where no municipal services are provided.
George Municipal rates 2014 to 2019
Property in Rondevlei (account GRG 1002040717)
Below is the year valuation, amount of rates due, and the annual percentage increase:
2014: R1,250m - R2 548,83
2015: R1,250m - R4 616,43 - 81,12% increase
2016: R1,250m - R4 958,03 - 6,96% increase
2017: R1,250m - R5 382,63 - 9,00% increase
2018: R1,313m - R5 861,50 - 8,87% increase
2019: R1,313m - R7 877,00* - 34,38% increase
*Rates have more than tripled in five years
*Property site address description: Farms
*Services provided from George municipality – Nil: no water, no sewerage, no electricity, no refuse collection, no street-lighting, pavements, no sealed roads (dirt roads in area maintained by Garden Route District).
Deputy Director of Financial Operations Henry Mitchell replies:
The reason for the discontinuation of rebates on Rondevlei properties is linked to stipulations in the Municipal Property Rates Act and is therefore a legal requirement the municipality has to comply with. The residents in this area have been receiving a 75% rebate for farms, but these properties are in fact not farms, but residential units and council decided some years back that the rebate would be phased out over a few years. At the time, the decision to phase out the rebate had been communicated to owners.
In some cases, the revaluation of properties last year may have had an impact in rates due, as with all properties in the George municipal area.
The Finance Department will arrange a meeting with Mr Emslie to explain some incorrect assumptions and to investigate whether he qualifies for rebates based on income.