Sorry....been out at Umnini with a group from Colorado
I did not realise you could not read it so here you go...
Homeowners in for a shock
29/03/2004 21:49 - (SA)
Philip de Bruin
Johannesburg - Only a signature stands between South African homeowners and a huge property-tax shock.
Xolani Xundu, spokesperson for Sydney Mufamadi, minister of provincial and local government, confirmed on Monday afternoon the controversial Municipal Property Rates Bill (MPRB) had passed all parliamentary processes.
He said the bill had been accepted and would become official when President Thabo Mbeki signed it.
Mbeki is expected to sign the bill in April to make sure it is ready for municipalities to bring the increased property taxes into effect at the start of their financial year on July 1.
In practice, this means homeowners would have to pay significantly more in taxes from August.
Xundu said one of the most-important aims of the bill was to eradicate "inequalities" that existed.
"Most valuations were done on the value of the stand alone.
"The new bill determines that site tax should be calculated on the market value of the stand and all improvements on it.
"At the moment, there are places where people pay property tax of 1c to the rand. In other places, it is 18c to the rand. This is unacceptable."
Most important stipulation
The most important stipulation of the bill, which will affect every homeowner, is that municipalities will calculate property tax on the market value of the particular property and not on municipal valuations, as is the case at present.
In the majority of cases, the two valuations differ by hundreds of thousands of rand, and homeowners might have to pay double or even triple the amount of property tax they are paying at present.
As an example, the municipal valuation of a house in Emmarentia, Johannesburg, is R330 000. The realistic market value, according to three estate agents, is R900 000.
This would mean the homeowner would have to pay R2 400 a month in property tax in future compared to the R800 a month at present.
Xundu said the effect of the price hike on the man in the street would be "slightly cushioned" because the bill would be phased in over a three-year period.
"This means homeowners will gradually start paying more property tax until they reach the limit set out by the bill."
He said Mufumadi was "very aware" of the sharp criticism against the bill that had been voiced since it was tabled before parliament for the first time, four years ago.
"That is why he consulted with the department, consulted again and consulted a third time. The portfolio committee debated the bill for 320 hours."
Despite public outrage, no threats have been received to take the matter to the Constitutional Court, Xundu said.