Valuations warrior strikes again

The Tshwane City Council last year commissioned a new valuation roll, to be valid for calculating property rates applicable from July 2017 until June 2020. Notices were published inviting those who wished to object to any valuation to do so within a prescribed period.

Howick-based  rates activist Dr Robert McLaren (noses202, 203, 207, 211 & 215) found reason to file no fewer than 700 objections, most relating to the significant undervaluation of numerous high-end properties and shopping mall complexes.For example, he demonstrates that the well-known Menlyn Park shopping mall, valued on the roll at R3.5 billion, should be valued at R5.9bn, making a huge difference in the amount of rates to be collected. Similarly the Centurion mall valued at R1.7bn, should be paying rates on a valuation of R4bn.

The SA Reserve Bank’s building, valued at R200 million, should be more than double that; similarly the SARS offices in New Muckleneuk.

Bizarrely, the council’s valuations department responded with a letter clearly calculated to intimidate and discourage him from pursuing these objections. Inter alia he was warned he would not be allowed to rectify or elaborate on any of his objections – and that he should expect to be challenged on the grounds that he had no locus standi (legal standing) to make any of these objections, regardless of their merit.

They then quote at length from the Constitution about a citizen’s rights – presumably those wealthy citizens lucky enough to have had their properties undervalued – to lawful and procedurally fair administrative action – ultimately that he will have to satisfy the council that he has a personal interest and is directly affected by each incorrect valuation he is challenging.

His sharp reply: The council’s own regulations say “any person” may object to a valuation; in addition, he argues that, as a citizen, he is entitled to demand all ratepayers carry their fair share of the rates burden. [To be continued.]

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