At last – major clean-up looms in Joburg administration.
An elaborate property rates scam operating out of the City of Johannesburg’s rates department has allowed the rich and connected not only to avoid having to pay municipal rates on their high-value properties, but even to milk the system for cash refunds to which they are not entitled. These frauds effectively leave the owners of lower-value properties to carry the city’s tax burden.
The discovery could finally result in a major clean-up in the city’s administration.
Besides allegedly rigging property valuations and rates assessments, the frauds are alleged to have extended to manipulating bills, illegally transferring properties and an “insider system” whereby ratepayers were allegedly required to pay staff – from low-level messengers to managers – “costs” to accelerate a “billing correction” that would make a rates debt “go away” or, better still, generate a generous refund to the ratepayer.
The gritty facts are detailed in a 52-page forensic report