Rates spat: Property owners lose case

07 Oct 2010

The Dinokeng Property Owners’ Association in Gauteng plans to approach the Constitutional Court after the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled against them over a hike in rates in the region.

According to Louis Meintjes, spokesman for the Association, they were disappointed that the Supreme Court of Appeal had ruled in favour of the local authority Nokeng Tsa Taemane (formerly known as Rayton) on the eastern side of Tshwane.

The municipality includes the urban areas of Rayton, and Cullinan and the rural residential area of Roodeplaat as well as the agricultural land and conservancies of Refilwe.

The dispute arose over a High Court ruling in Pretoria that set aside the assessment tariffs for the financial years 2003/04 and 2004/05 respectively. However, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the two notices issued by the municipality in terms of the Local Government Transition Act in May 2003 and in June 2004 were properly advertised.

It also found that the operating and capital budgets, which included assessment tariffs for properties within the municipal boundaries, were valid. However, the SCA’s judgment against courts seizing the powers of municipalities to determine rates and taxes within their boundaries.

“The judgment should be read together with two Auditor General reports and one forensic audit, which showed the Nokeng municipality adhered to no legal requirements and that the tariffs imposed were illegal,” said Meintjes

Meintjes says that the judgment now gives municipalities the right to do as they please without consideration for the legal ramifications. He says the Dinokeng Properties Owners’ Association will turn to the Constitutional Court for a ruling.

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