The City of Joburg said it is well geared towards the February 2019 deadline to finalise all general valuation objections lodged this year.
Earlier this year, the City unveiled its 2018 general valuation roll (GV2018), which some 50 000 objections were lodged against. Many have also recently realised that their properties’ zoning has been changed from residential to business.
This meant their rates skyrocketed to the much higher business rate on properties. Some of these property owners are pensioners who have since been denied rebates because of the increase in the value of their properties.
The City’s MMC for Finance, Funzela Ngobeni, said the municipal valuer has already started issuing outcomes of objections to some property owners. To date, he said, 7 879 properties have no change to their municipal value, 1 216 properties have a lower market value, 3 properties have a higher market value, and 70 properties had a category change only.
Ngobeni said that outstanding objections are currently being considered in order to respond to all objectors and owners, timeously.
“All property owners who have received their Section 53 notices are requested to start making payments on [the new] value [after the objections have been finalised].” Where adjustments are required these will reflect in the subsequent months.
A section 53 notice informs of the decision the municipal valuer took after an objection was lodged.
In April, Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba said that no credit management processes will be initiated against objectors, provided that the accounts were not in arrears as at 30 June.
Residents who have lodged objections must, however, continue to make payments on their rates accounts. These payments should be based on the previous rate payments to the City, along with invoiced service charges.
Residents’ objections that were not successful are urged to attempt to pay the amount billed for rates and taxes according to the new valuation, Ngobeni said. In the case where the objection is successful, the account will be adjusted and credited, he said.
Ngobeni said the number of objections received determines how long the reviewing process lasts considering a number of factors. “Each and every objection is an intense one-on-one process. The municipal valuer has to review each objection in this process; use can be made of building plans, oblique imagery (a 3D aerial photography system), actual site visits and evidence provided by the objector.
“The nature of the process is one that is lengthy, and we must thank Joburgers for their patience. We aim to finalise all outcome letters by the end of February 2019. As the objections outcomes letters roll out, property owners who are still unhappy about the results still have recourse through the Valuations Appeal process.”
After the completion of a resident’s objection, the City will adjust their account accordingly.
How to lodge an appeal?
Details of this will be provided to objectors along with the outcome of the objection. If an objector does not agree with the decision of the municipal valuer, they may lodge an appeal within the prescribed manner and time period as reflected on the decision notice.
Objectors need to appeal against the municipal valuer’s decision at Metro Centre at 158 Civic Boulevard, on the B block’s second floor in Braamfontein, along with supporting documents or evidence.
An appeal can only be made if an objection was lodged against the general valuation roll 2018 within the prescribed period.
To what extent is the municipal valuer’s decision final?
If the municipal valuer changes the value of a property that was objected to by more than 10 per cent upwards or downwards the appeal board must review the objection and confirm, amend or revoke the decision of the municipal valuer.
If you did not appeal the decision and your property is reviewed by the board and they amend the property valuation your only recourse will be an escalation to a higher court which will be for your own account.
Do I need a lawyer to represent me at the Appeal Board?
The board is an independent body appointed by the provincial government leadership. The board is not a court of law, and you do not need to bring a lawyer unless you wish to do so. You may also bring any other expert to assist you during your appeal hearing. However, this will be for your own account.
To follow up on an objection, visit the City’s dedicated website at coj2018.evaluations.co.za/eServices or call 0860 56 28 74.