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Saturday, 23 January 2010

Invitation to Attend Public Meeting with the Mayor

TAKING THE CITY TO THE PEOPLE

The Mayor of Cape Town, Alderman Dan Plato, invites you to attend a public meeting to discuss mattters affecting YOU. Use this opportunity t raise your concerns!

DATE: 3 February 2010
TIME: 19:00 – 20:30
VENUE: Sea Point Civic Centre, Main Road, Sea Point

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Spectacular CBRRA Victory in the Municipal Rates Valuation Objection Process

This is an example where CBRRA has been able to assist a member to save a considerable amount of money in increased rates and services billings and alleged arrears which arrived without warning as a result of a supplementary valuation executed two years ago by the City.

With the correct approach, CBBRA managed to get the supplementary valuation, the increased rates and services billings and the arrears cancelled.

This is an excellent example of the real benefit of belonging to CBRRA (for a mere R200 per annum!).


Letter from CBRRA to the City Valuer

Dear Mr. Gavor,

Supplementary Valuation Roll for 2009 / 2010 (SV05) Rates Billing ; Account No. XXXXXXXX ; Erf XXXX, XX XXXXXXXXX XXXX, Camps Bay, 8005

1. I act on behalf of the owner, XXXXXXXX, who has also sought the advice of the Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association and the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, in respect of the letter dated 25 November 2009 received from your Valuations Billing Department with attached tax invoice No. XXXXXXXXXXXX (Distribution Code XXXXXXXXXXX Business Partner Number XXXXXXXXXX) with an amount owing to be paid by him by 30 November 2009 of R 11 973,98) for alleged arrears resulting from the new supplementary valuation together with increased billings for rates and services.

2. This matter can be summarised as follows:

2.1. The property was valued at R 4 586 000,00 at the 1 July 2006 GV

2.2. By means of a Supplementary Valuation No. 5 the property was revalued at R 5 500 000,00 with a stated “effective date “ of 10 April 2008 and was rebilled with large increased rates and services costs in November 2009 including alleged arrears totalling R11973,98 on the revised valuation and service costs for the months of July 2008 to November 2009. The subsequent December 2009 billing continues the principle of the November billing.

3. Without, at this stage, going into the correctness of the supplementary valuation, the owner denies that the City had any right to undertake such a supplementary valuation in terms of the MPRA for the reason which follows.


4. The owner contends that some official revalued the property in terms of Section 55 of the Act instead of Section 78(d) as claimed on your website. I take it to be common cause that the question of re-valuation was picked up as a result of an application by the owner for building plan approval for a garden wall (which cost not exceeding R20,000) to be erected. It is accepted that all such successful applications are communicated to your Department. This procedure was confirmed by your Mr. Emil Weichardt.

Although Mr. Weichardt states that your Council informed the Owner of the supplementary valuation in about September 2009, he contends that he never received such notice, which situation has deprived him of the opportunity to submit a formal objection, hence this letter of mine now on his behalf.

5. It is contended that your official was incorrect in assessing that the market value of the property (valued at R4,586,000 in the 1 July 2006 GV) had "substantially increased" for the above reason. In truth and in fact, the construction of the garden wall had increased the market value of the property by 0.44%. Not by 1% or 4% or 10%. Your new Supplementary Valuation No. 5 is based on the property having increased in value by 20%! In law, there is absolutely no way that a reasonable person could have decided that the construction of a R20,000 garden wall had "substantially increased" the value of the property in this manner..


6. You are hereby accordingly urgently requested to now find that your Supplementary Valuation No. 5 in respect of this specific property, resulting in a 20% increase in the previous MV was done in error and that you will consequently withdraw it completely forthwith together with the increased and arrears billings charged to date.

7. Please acknowledge receipt of this letter and, as this is an extremely important matter, you reply at your earliest convenience is requested.

Yours faithfully,

John Powell
for
CBRRA and
X X XXXXXX


Letter from the City Valuer to CBRRA

Dear Mr. Powell

I’d been out of office and that’s why I am only responding to your mail now. I’ve read your mail and will investigate the matter. If there is no material increase in the value as a result the building plan, the remedy will be for Council to lodge a Council objection against the valuation and rectify the error immediately. This should about a week to process. I’ll get back to you on Friday after I’ve investigated the matter.

Kindly inform X X XXXXXX that the matter is being given urgent attention.

Regards

Christopher Gavor
DIRECTOR: VALUATIONS


Letter from the City Valuation Department to CBRRA

Good Day Mr Powell

I hope this email finds you in good health

I have been requested to respond to this email on behalf of Director: Valuations, Mr Christopher Gavor.

The municipal valuer has requested for an investigation regarding the SV05 valuation for this property.

Please be advised that a council objection has been lodged against this valuation, requesting for this to be reverted to the GV2006 valuation of R4 586 000.00.

As soon as the amended valuation is signed off by the municipal valuer, this will be submitted to the Technical Masterdata Department (TMD) so that the necessary adjustments can be made to the account.

The adjustments should be submitted to TMD by the end of this week, at which point they will start work on reversing the amounts owing to reflect the amended valuation.

Thanking you
Shahieda Samodien-Azad


Letter from CBRRA to the City Valuer and his Department

Dear Mr Samodien-Azad and Mr. Gavor

I acknowledge receipt of your letters dated 13 and 18 January 2010 and, on behalf of X X XXXXXX, I would like to say how delighted we both are at your responses to my letter dated 12 January 2010 to Mr. Gavor.

Thank you for your quick attention to what was a big shock to X X XXXXXX, it is much appreciated.

We trust that the Council’s objection will be successful. Kindly notify us of the outcome in due course.

X X XXXXXX has been paying your Department at the higher basic rates billings (excluding the arrears) shown on your November et seq. invoices, so he will be due some credits in this respect.

Kind regards,

John Powell
for CBRRA and
X X XXXXXX

Talking points used by Alderman Ian Neilson

TALKING POINTS USED BY ALDERMAN IAN NEILSON
GENERAL VALUATION PRESS CONFERENCE

A massive effort is under way to revalue all properties in metropolitan Cape Town for a new valuation roll, upon which property rates will be based from July 2010.

The Valuation Office of the City of Cape Town has therefore embarked on a communication campaign to inform property owners about their role in ensuring that the process and values are fair, equitable and accepted by all stakeholders.

A General Valuation is done at least every four years to ensure that the rates charged on residential and non-residential properties are fair and up-to-date. It is necessary to redo valuations because property values change within neighbourhoods and in relation to other neighbourhoods over time. This revaluation will establish a fair and equitable rates base for the next three to four years.

Our intention is to provide homeowners with as much information as possible so that they can input into the process to make it a success and our aim is to come with a valuation roll that is “acceptable” to all residents and property owners because the values are fair, equitable and reflect market conditions as at the date of valuation, which is 1 July 2009.

As a result, many staff members including middle and senior management are forfeiting their Christmas break this year to ensure that all properties will be valued by the January 31 deadline.

There are over 780 000 properties to be valued and as in the two previous general valuations, the City has adopted a mass valuation methodology, in line with accepted mass valuation practice. This method is a systematic process of valuing many properties at a given date using statistical procedures based on property sales and market conditions around the date of valuation.

Property owners will only know what the rates will be when the “cent in the rand” is announced well into next year. This will determine the amounts to be paid in rates. The City is working round the clock to have an indicative rate in the rand by the end of February 2010. This will only be an indicative rate, as the City is required by law to through a budgeting process by with the rate in the rand is determined. This process only concludes at the end of May 2010.

The valuation process is already well advanced. On Friday, December 4, the first 290 000 property values were loaded on to the City of Cape Town website and the majority of the values will be available by the middle of January next year. The final values will only be available when the roll is submitted to the City Manager at the end of January 2010.

The City’s website will also list the value of sales in each neighbourhood, helping property owners to gauge the fairness of their own values. These are new measures not available during the previous valuation, to reassure property owners that the process is fair and reduce as many unwarranted objections as possible.

In addition, statistical control measures will be used to make sure the results conform to international standards for mass appraisals, and valuers will analyse whether the values generated reflect market conditions as at the date of valuation.

An internationally recognized independent body will also audit the City’s compliance with international best practice and the law.

Rates constitute about 24 percent of the City’s income and pay for services including building and maintaining roads, parks, running clinics and libraries and fire, rescue and traffic services. By law, a general valuation must be finished five months before rates are levied on it.

I truly believe we have done all we can, given the huge challenges, to ensure a fair, uniform and transparent General Valuation. We have put in the hard slog, we have tested our systems, and we are confident that the end result will be received with due regard for the fairness of the process.

The public inspection period, which commences on 21 February 2010, has been extended by one month to ensure that all property owners have an opportunity to review their valuations.

Log on to www.capetown.gov.za and click on Service and Departments, then Property Valuations, to see what your property is worth. If the value is not yet recorded, it will be soon.



PROPERTY VALUATIONS TIMELINE & COMMUNICATIONS TIMELINE

* A preliminary property roll will be available on the City of Cape Town’s website (www.capetown.gov.za ) for certain areas, from early December, and all will be fully available by 15 January 2010.

* The Valuation Roll will be handed to the City Manager, Achmat Ebrahim, on 31 January 2010.

* Property owners will start receiving their valuation notices in the post from February 21 next year.

* Dedicated public inspection venues will be open to the public between 21 February and April 30 next year.

* The valuers will have investigated about 80 percent of the objections by the end of December 2010.

* The budget process will establish the rate in the rand by June 2010.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

CBRRA Sucesses, Concerns & New ManCo Members

CBRRA has had a busy year, which ended with many successes, a few concerns and two new committee members.

CBRRA Manco was considerably strengthened when two additional members were co-opted onto the committee at the monthly meeting held on 2 December 2009. The members are Richard Dames, who lives in Geneva Drive, and Charles Wells, from Atholl Road. They are joining several sub committees including finance, planning, heritage, environmental and cleansing.

Amongst the successes and concerns were the following highlights:


ILLEGAL BEACH CHANGING HUTS REMOVED

It was a source of relief to CBRRA and the public when intrusive, branded-with-illegal-advertising changing huts were removed from the Camps Bay beachfront after an intense campaign for such removal. The successful fight for the removal was a triumph for the co-operation of some Camps Bay associations and the City Council, including CBRRA, the Camps Bay Community Police Forum and the Camps Bay Community Security Initiative. This was an excellent example of what can be achieved when the community pulls together. The huts, erected without proper authority, appeared without any warning in the first week of November 2009 and were removed two weeks later by the City Council after the advertisers failed to remove them by the deadline date given to them by the City Council for such demolition.

SEASONAL EVENTS

The many special events that will be held in Camps Bay over Christmas and New Year 2009/10 will put the Camps Bay main beach under severe pressure. When an event such as a sponsored football match is planned, a permit must be obtained from the Cape Town City Council. Before this is given, the City Council consults community organizations such as CBRRA and the CBCPF and SAPS for their permission.

CBRRA examines numerous requests over the year and particularly over the peak holiday period and is careful not to allow purely commercial or unsuitable events with a particular emphasis on noise and damage to the beachfront.

Tourists are welcome and an important source of income for local businesses. However, residents have the right to peaceful enjoyment of their homes, therefore a balance has to be maintained. This monitoring work is carried out by CBRRA and is an example of the many services it provides to Camps Bay. Contact Brenda Herbert for any queries you may have in this respect.

PLANNING

The planning sub committee chaired by Chris Willemse continuously negotiates with Owners, Developers, Planners, Architects and the City Council Officials in respect of many buildings which CBRRA feels do not comply with the regulations.

A development of 41 flats known as “The Crystal” on Woodford Avenue is causing major concerns. It is CBRRA’s opinion that the project is illegal in respect of a number of alleged transgressions including the number of floor levels, façades being higher than permitted by the zoning scheme, basement levels, derogation of value of surrounding properties and various other points. CBRRA has repeatedly been in touch with the City Planning Officials and Politicians, but crucial meetings with The City Council and Developers have been cancelled four times by the City Council over six weeks on the pretext that the Council was awaiting legal opinions before responding. In the meantime, the builders carry on working.

This experience supports comments in the press, which highlights the unacceptable manner in which the City Planning Department conducts its duties in respect of planning. In the meantime, CBRRA carries on fighting.

SIGNAGE

Temporary signs are mushrooming everywhere for advertising concerts, auctions and other forthcoming events – unsightly and often illegal, especially when they have no permit stickers, are oversize (1/3rd of a square metre), are placed on the Council’s pavements or remain in place more than three weeks after a property transaction has been achieved has been achieved (in the case of property sales or auctions). CBRRA keeps an eye on these and contacts the Cape Town City Council on a regular basis to have them removed.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

Unsightly rubbish left by builders and developers is an eyesore and the cause of great inconvenience to neighbours. The blocking of pavements and choking of stormwater drains is causing concern to residents and CBRRA. The environmental issues sub-committee is addressing this issue.

CBRRA 2009 end of year

CBRRA has had a busy year, which ended with many successes, a few concerns and two new committee members.

CBRRA Manco was considerably strengthened when two additional members were co-opted onto the committee at the monthly meeting held on 2 December 2009. The members are Richard Dames, who lives in Geneva Drive, and Charles Wells, from Atholl Road. They are joining several sub committees including finance, planning, heritage, environmental and cleansing.

Amongst the successes and concerns were the following highlights:


ILLEGAL BEACH CHANGING HUTS REMOVED

It was a source of relief to CBRRA and the public when intrusive, branded-with-illegal-advertising changing huts were removed from the Camps Bay beachfront after an intense campaign for such removal. The successful fight for the removal was a triumph for the co-operation of some Camps Bay associations and the City Council, including CBRRA, the Camps Bay Community Police Forum and the Camps Bay Community Security Initiative. This was an excellent example of what can be achieved when the community pulls together. The huts, erected without proper authority, appeared without any warning in the first week of November 2009 and were removed two weeks later by the City Council after the advertisers failed to remove them by the deadline date given to them by the City Council for such demolition.

SEASONAL EVENTS

The many special events that will be held in Camps Bay over Christmas and New Year 2009/10 will put the Camps Bay main beach under severe pressure. When an event such as a sponsored football match is planned, a permit must be obtained from the Cape Town City Council. Before this is given, the City Council consults community organizations such as CBRRA and the CBCPF and SAPS for their permission.

CBRRA examines numerous requests over the year and particularly over the peak holiday period and is careful not to allow purely commercial or unsuitable events with a particular emphasis on noise and damage to the beachfront.

Tourists are welcome and an important source of income for local businesses. However, residents have the right to peaceful enjoyment of their homes, therefore a balance has to be maintained. This monitoring work is carried out by CBRRA and is an example of the many services it provides to Camps Bay. Contact Brenda Herbert for any queries you may have in this respect.

PLANNING

The planning sub committee chaired by Chris Willemse continuously negotiates with Owners, Developers, Planners, Architects and the City Council Officials in respect of many buildings which CBRRA feels do not comply with the regulations.

A development of 41 flats known as “The Crystal” on Woodford Avenue is causing major concerns. It is CBRRA’s opinion that the project is illegal in respect of a number of alleged transgressions including the number of floor levels, façades being higher than permitted by the zoning scheme, basement levels, derogation of value of surrounding properties and various other points. CBRRA has repeatedly been in touch with the City Planning Officials and Politicians, but crucial meetings with The City Council and Developers have been cancelled four times by the City Council over six weeks on the pretext that the Council was awaiting legal opinions before responding. In the meantime, the builders carry on working.

This experience supports comments in the press, which highlights the unacceptable manner in which the City Planning Department conducts its duties in respect of planning. In the meantime, CBRRA carries on fighting.

SIGNAGE

Temporary signs are mushrooming everywhere for advertising concerts, auctions and other forthcoming events – unsightly and often illegal, especially when they have no permit stickers, are oversize (1/3rd of a square metre), are placed on the Council’s pavements or remain in place more than three weeks after a property transaction has been achieved has been achieved (in the case of property sales or auctions). CBRRA keeps an eye on these and contacts the Cape Town City Council on a regular basis to have them removed.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

Unsightly rubbish left by builders and developers is an eyesore and the cause of great inconvenience to neighbours. The blocking of pavements and choking of stormwater drains is causing concern to residents and CBRRA. The environmental issues sub-committee is addressing this issue.



Progress at last on the Camps Bay Beachfront Redevelopment

Since the year 2000, CBRRA has been deeply involved in the redevelopment of the main Camps Bay beachfront, which, although being arguably Cape Town’s best and favourite beach and the jewel in the tourist crown, is suffering grievously from almost complete neglect resulting from a regrettable lack of maintenance and redevelopment finance.

This has resulted in the beach looking decidedly tatty and run down at present, which condition was not helped by some devastating flood damage during the midwinter rains of 2008, which, at the time of writing (January 2010) has not yet been properly repaired, due to lack of finance, slow tendering procedures and the recent very busy peak holiday season.

A master redevelopment / maintenance plan was created under CBRRA’s auspices in about 2001, after a thorough in-depth Environmental Impact Assessment, which plan is still in existence and needs to be updated and prioritised.

Whereas a start was made on the overall redevelopment about six years ago with large rock revetments placed at the interface between the beach and the lawns, these were discontinued due to the necessary funds being diverted elsewhere by the previous Council.

It is a breath of fresh air, therefore, to receive the following letters from Cllr. Taki Amira, the new Good Hope Subcouncil Chairperson in place of Cllr. J-P Smith. CBRRA looks forward to this regenerated initiative led by Cllrs. Amira, Haywood and CBRRA, heralding the dawn of the complete revival and upgrading of an amenity which deserves much more support and attention than it has been receiving over the last twenty years.

Read the following letters in reverse order from the bottom up and you will obtain an accurate picture of the exciting things which can start to happen on this exciting beachfront which will surely bring it up to the magnificence which it assuredly deserves !

It is also very gratifying to see how various local volunteer bodies are combining well together for the benefit of the public at large as well as the local population, who while very fortunate to be able to live here permanently really understand that this unique facility is a regional, possibly national asset which needs constant attention and nuturing. :



CLLR AMIRA TO CBRRA

Good morning,

Thank you for your email the contents and request contained within which I have noted.

The status is as fo0llows and I may repeat myself.

We managed to secure R200 000-00 for remedial short term work on the beach post flooding, this money was eventually allocated towards the end of November, where we held an on site meeting to prioritise where this would be spent. As most of the damage from the floods was surface damage caused by erosion, it was decided that we would wait until the main holiday rush was over before we leveled and top dressed the lawn area as we could not conceivably demarcate no go areas on existing lawn thus further restricting access and suffering more damage. I am assured this work would be done in January.

Yes, I am aware of the proposals for upgrading the area made a number of years ago and we have located the plans that were agreed to by the City and the community in as far back as 2001+ -.

Dave Curran has the plans and he was also involved in the plans and discussions.

The previous dispensation at that time had removed all funding for the upgrade, thus the plans were filed.

These were brought to my attention and I have requested that the officials dust them off and give me a three year plan/proposal with costs and prioritization so we can try and apply for funding in the budget cycle for the period 2010-2011 and three years thereafter.

Funding as you are aware is extremely scarce and we must fight to get a nibble at the ever decreasing cake.

I have some ideas however I want to run this passed Marga the ward councillor and other colleagues plus officials before I feel comfortable in bringing this to a meeting this month.

As soon as I have done my home work I will gladly meet with you, however this does not preclude you or any member of the Camps Bay Resident Rate Payers Association or any member of the public making use of my open door when in the CBD to discuss this or any other issue. All I ask I please phone in to confirm I am in the office and just pop in. Others do call in.

Regards

Taki Amira
Councillor - City of Cape Town
Chairperson Good Hope Sub Council (16)



CBRRA TO CAMPS BAY POLICE FORUM

Thanks for your letter of support below.

Richard Dames is a valued new member of CBRRA Manco, and before he joined had entered into a robust and constructive exchange of views with Cllr. Amira in respect of the highly undesirable condition of the main beach at Camps Bay.

He has, as a new Manco member, been seconded onto the whole beach cleansing / maintenance / redevelopment programme which CBRRA now wishes to relaunch together with the Council and the community.

It is common cause that this so-called tourist gem is in a catastrophic state of disrepair, resulting from the floods earler this year and the lack of maintenance and capital works finance which seems to have ground to a stop in recent years.

Let me please remind the Council yet again that CBRRA and the community of Camps Bay spent an inordinate amount of time with the Council in the early 2000s carrying out a fully fledged EIA process on the whole of the main beachfront – the master plan of which still exists. Some years ago the Council commenced he construction of large stone revetments between the grass lawns and the beach, which construction was stopped not even halfway when the moneys were diverted to some other “more deserving causes”. .

In the meantime, lack of maintenance , beach events, illegal advertising structures, floods and vehicular usage of the beach lawns have all but destroyed the lawns. The banks between the lawns and the beach remain poorly repaired.

CBRRA’s request for a brick paved vehicular access road from the tidal pool area to the Lifesavers’ Hut over the years has fallen on deaf ears and this so-called showpiece beach is now something to be ashamed of – even without regard to the seemingly inability of the Council to adequately keep up with the cleansing situation caused by impossibly congested crowds in the peak season and during the year.

The uplighting of the palm trees has not worked for many years in spite of constant requests by CBRRA in the past.

CBRRA is informed that the Council can only commence its flood remedial operations in the new year, many months after the floods. Whereas CBRRA welcomes this belated remedial work, it is inportant that we hold a meeting to find out what is being done and provide further input if necessary..

With all the above in mind, CBRRA now formally requests Cllrs. Amira and Haywood to jointly convene an initial meeting of all the above persons plus the necessary relevant Council Officials in or about the third week in January 2010 to relaunch an initiative to establish a holistic programme for the proper completion of the redevelopment, maintenance plan and stormwater disposal system for the Camps Bay main beachfront.

We cannot delay this matter any further and CBRRA looks forward to hearing from our two Councillors where (we suggest The Bay Hotel) and when (late January) the meeting can be held.

Regards,

John Powell
CBRRA



LET US BUILD ON THIS PROMISING LETTER RECEIVED FROM CLLR. AMIRA !

I managed to secure extra funding (remember the city does not have insurance or emergency funds for damage after storms) I secured R200 000.00 for repairs, but due to procurement we will wait until after the holidays to rehabilitate most damage although some cosmetic changes you will see are apparent. We have prioritised what needs to be done such as lawn rehab (unfortunately the changing rooms have caused further damaged).

I have also asked for a three year plan, in order or priority, to institute the approved plan of circa 2000/0001 in which you were involved so I may put it on the budget and see if we can get a dip into funds but at the moment all funds to projects have been rephrased.

This may be a short email but I need to shoot off for a site visit on a building application and can fill you in later.

Regards

Taki



CAMPS BAY POLICE FORUM TO CBRRA AND CLLR AMIRA

I write in response to the email received earlier this month from the DA's Information Officer with regard to littering on Camps Bay beach.

I have been informed that Richard Dames, the originator of the complaint, had recently joined the committee of the Camps Bay Residents and Ratepayers Association, (CBRRA) and is taking a particular interest in the environmental and cleansing issues that we face in Camps Bay. (http://campsbayratepayers.blogspot.com/).

I strongly support this action and the diligent and pro-active stance that CBRRA have taken in addressing this matter. The CPF, as you all know, spends the majority of its time, due to necessity, addressing SAPS and crime issues that seem of a more heinous nature - our activities with regard to home invasions, house robberies and the implementation of sector policing stand testament. The fact that CBRRA has offered to take ownership of such an important yet under managed issue shows how far we have come as a community in trying to raise all of the standards that we expect to see provided in Camps Bay.

Again, thank you to CBRRA and to Richard for tackling this head on. It, obviously, gets our full support.

Regards,

H. Peter Mead
Chairman; Camps Bay Police Forum

Your New Rates Municipal General Valuation Jan 2010

The City of Cape Town has revalued all the properties in the Cape Town Unicity in its Municipal General Valuation which was carried out on 1 July 2009.

It is currently posting its revised draft valuation of your property on the City’s website www.capetown.gov.za and you will shortly be receiving in the post a notice from the City officially notifying you of this revaluation with a request that you either accept it or object to it by a particular date (POSSIBLY IN APRIL 2010)

What can / should you be doing now that you have received your new draft rates revaluation?

You should now be establishing the factors / characteristics of your property which you can use to motivate a reduction in the valuation should you now feel that you have been overvalued.

Typical examples could be : a Council registered water course (river!) and immense rocks which eliminate your ability to develop further on your property as owners around you can with double / second dwellings, granny flats and the like - the presence of a six-metre wide overloaded Provincial registered trunk road (say Camps Bay Drive) on your front boundary which has dangerously speeding traffic on it and causes you difficulty in accessing / leaving your property by car for some hours during rush hours - the exposure to high winds and possible harm from fires in adjacent public open space, etc.

Other examples could be : a Council electrical or drainage servitude running through your property, a lack or loss of views compared with surrounding properties – steeply sloping sites - irregularly shaped sites inhibiting the ability to develop them properly or take advantage of the available view - south facing house - excessive distance from shops, schools, beach etc. necessitating wheeled transport for every journey – obliteration of views by adjacent building structures and so on

Once you have received your Council revaluation notice and before you rush into submitting an objection because you think it is too high, ask yourself whether you would have been prepared to sell your property in July 2009 (the date of the revaluation) for an amount less than the Council’s revaluation now presented to you in 2010. Only if you would have been prepared to have accepted a lower selling price (including the Selling Agent’s fees and VAT), should you then consider deciding whether to consult a qualified Valuer who will then be able to advise you as to whether your suggested lower valuation is valid or not.

Should you decide to approach a Valuer for professional advice, first request a fee quotation (probably on an hourly rate basis) before investigating with him / her as to whether your contention that the revaluation is too high is valid or not. If the Valuer disagrees with you, you have at least been given a quick and reasonably inexpensive professional opinion upon which you can decide whether to proceed with your objection or not. Should you be advised to or should you decide to proceed, you should then appoint the Valuer to assist you with your objection to the Valuation Court.

Estate Agents are also able to assist you with your objection and can help you considerably by presenting you with their written assessment of what your property would have sold for in July 2009.

The objection document is a very daunting document. CBRRA therefore suggests that you do not submit an objection without a technically correct motivation which is well prepared with professional help.

The South African Institute of Valuers can assist you with names of Valuers (Address c/o J.J.Hofmeyr & Sons, 13 Piers Road, Wynberg, 7800. Telephone 021 7611803).

Should you decide to object to the new revaluation which you have received, the document which you will shortly be receiving from the City will inform you where it has opened information centres which will assist you in the compilation of your objection. At these information centres, you will be able to ascertain the sales amounts and other details of the properties near your property to enable you to make an accurate comparison between such sold properties and your property.

Remember that if you live in a sectional title apartment block, you will again be billed separately and directly for your unit and not in your levy which used to reflect a proportion of the overall building rates bill.

Should your valuation have increased, this does not necessarily mean that your rates bill will escalate pro-rata to the valuation increase.

This is because the increase in the total overall value of all properties in the Unicity since July 2006 will probably mean that the Rate in the Rand may be adjusted down in this GV year. The current recession may even have had its effect on the new valuations, but this movement will differ from one suburb to another depending on the situations and market attractiveness of such suburbs. It could well happen again in this GV that in some areas the resulting new rates bills in July 2010 may result in lower rates bills in some areas and much higher rates bills in others.

This was considered to be a basic big flaw on the last GV and it will be interesting to see what happens this time – ie, has the City managed to improve its rating system so that all ratepayers are treated equally in their new rates rates valuations so that the new GV can be seen to have been equitable to all in terms of the Municipal Property Rates Act No 4 of 2004.

Ideally there should not be a situation which happened in the 2006 GV when of about 750 000 properties valued, 16% received reduced valuations, 50% received increased valuations by not exceeding 15%, 27% increased by between 15% and 39%, 5% increased between 30% and 40% and 2% increased by more than 40% some even up to 325%! Assuming that nobody whose valuations had increased by more than 15% would have objected, only about one third of the above total valuations would have been objected to, ie ±250 000 divided by ± 55 000 actual objections = ± 22%, which was far in excess of the City’s then claimed 8% objections.

For the next few years until the next GV, your new revaluation will stay constant (unless it is adjusted by a supplementary valuation in due course) and future rates bill increases will be based only on the Rate in the Rand applicable to your property.

One way or the other, be aware of your rights and start preparing to possibly pay more rates than the normal annual increase from July 2010 onwards, the extent of which will only be revealed to you after the forthcoming Council rates revaluation notice which you will be receiving shortly is received by you and the new Rate in the Rand is announced by the City when it announces its next budget this year.

Ratepayers / Residents' Audit of CCT's JUL'06 General Valuation (GCTCA)

In February 2007, The City of Cape Town released its new provisional Valuation Roll for Ratepayers’ responses or objections in preparation for the new rates bills. The new valuations were based on the City’s assessed market values of all types of properties as at 1 July 2006, using sample sales properties to interpolate the comparative values of unsold properties.

Ratepayers were given only 30 days within which to object, which period the GCTCA managed to increase to 60 days.

The information centres established to assist ratepayers in their objections supplied too little information for ratepayers to assess comparatively the accuracy of the City's valuation of their property.

Resulting from the widely differing and seemingly inconsistent valuations and rates bills which ratepayers eventually received, the GCTCA embarked upon an audit of the City’s 2006 General Valuation (GV).

This audit took over two years to complete, submit, discuss with City officials in an attempt to ascertain how the City had compiled its 2006 GV, what it has learned from its last two GVs it has executed and what it has learned from the extensive GCTCA audit and the other independent GV audit which was carried out by IPTI (the Canadian International Property Tax Institute).

Our audit also examined the City’s 2007 rates policy to establish a holistic impression of how of the rates formula would affect all ratepayers regardless of where they lived in the Unicity.

The above audit was prepared following a widespread impression amongst ratepayers, residents and property owners generally that the quality and accuracy of the City’s 2006 GV left much to be desired.

Areas of concern contained in the GCTCA audit included the obvious discrepancies in valuation in given areas, regardless of their economic levels.

For example, the City claimed that its 2006 GV had been a successful valuation because there had only been about 8% objections. The true analysis of this claim showed that of about 750 000 properties valued, 16% received reduced valuations, 50% received increased valuations by not exceeding 15%, 27% increased by between 15% and 39%, 5% increased between 30% and 40% and 2% increased by more than 40% some even up to 325%! Assuming that nobody whose valuations had increased by more than 15% would have objected, only about one third of the above total valuations would have been objected to, ie ±250 000 divided by ± 55 000 actual objections = ± 22%, which was in excess of the City’s claimed 8%.

High increases in valuations did not occur only in wealthy areas. The Bokaap was an example of such a situation where real hardship has resulted from the 2006 GV revised valuations, an entire area of seemingly asset-rich but cash-poor households.

Among many concerns, a difference of opinion arose with the City as to the proper interpretation of the basic component of the rates formula, the definition of “market value” as defined by the 2004 Municipal Property Rates Act and the lack of bigger rebates for indigent ratepayers at the bottom income earning levels.

The essence of the GCTCA’s concerns is that every ratepayer acknowledges that he or she will have to pay increased rates to help run the Unicity each year. However, every ratepayer wants to be treated equally in this matter. It is unacceptable and inequitable that, because of the valuation methodologies used, some people subsequently received reduced rates, some receive slightly increased rates and some receive massive increases, regardless of the economic levels of the areas in which they reside.

THE GCTCA believes that the City Valuation Department is indeed seeking ways to improve the quality of its 2006 GV and has welcomed a recent opportunity to continue with the dialogue which it initiated by means of its audit with City officials for the benefit of the City and all ratepayers.

At a meeting requested by the City’s Valuation Department, the GCTCA was shown how the City has reacted to the GCTCA and IPTI audits and has prepared for the new GV which was executed on 1 July 2009 with the new valuation roll and resulting rates bills due to be published in 2010. The GCTCA awaits the new GV with interest and continues to hope that it will play a constructive roll in the achievement of GVs which are fair to all concerned.

Philip Bam
John Powell (CBRRA)
For GCTCA

September 2009

EXTRACT FROM THE CONSTITUTION OF THE GREATER CAPE TOWN CIVIC ALLIANCE


NAME
1. The name shall be THE GREATER CAPE TOWN CIVIC ALLIANCE, henceforth referred to as “The Alliance”.


NATURE

2. The Alliance shall be a voluntary association which represents residents, ratepayers, civics and other interest groups within Cape Town, that are concerned with matters of government local and other spheres and are not aligned to any political party or other structure with a separate existence from their constituent members.


LEGAL IDENTITY & PERSONA

3. The Alliance is a “universitas personarum”, an independent legal persona or entity, distinct from the individuals who comprise it, having the capacity of acquiring rights of property, of incurring obligations and of suing or being sued in its own name and having perpetual succession, and neither members nor the Executive Committee shall be answerable for the debts or engagements of the Association.


AREA

4. The area of The Alliance shall be the municipal area administered by the CITY OF CAPE TOWN.


OBJECTIVES

5. The objectives of The Alliance shall be the following:


5.1 To protect and promote the interests of its members in regard to objectives 5.2 and 5.3

5.2 To obtain membership of any forum or similar body established for the discussion of, or negotiations on, the constitutional status of local government.

5.3 To make representations to and, where relevant, to gain access to any forum, committee, federation or like body established for the discussion of, or required to deal with, the constitutional, financial or organisational changes to government with the purpose of ensuring that any such changes to government in the area covered by The Alliance furthers the interests of its constituent members.

5.4 To work for and promote the recognition of The Alliance as a body whose prior participation in the decision process would first be sought to ensure the favourable outcome of government decisions affecting its area.

5.5 To set up effective public participation systems to ensure effective participation by the people in planned and proposed government processes.

5.6 The Alliance shall not normally concern itself with any issue which is parochial or peculiar to a member’s area unless the principles involved could affect other members, or unless support on an issue or issues is so requested by the affected area’s chairperson.


MEMBERSHIP

6. The members of The Alliance shall be those bodies that are ratepayers, tenants, residents, non-politically aligned civics associations or other bodies constituted for similar purposes, which are not members of any other regional or national body with aims or objects conflicting with those of The Alliance, and which;

6.1 Have a constitution with the aim or object of promoting its members’ interests in local government;

6.2 Have a provable list of members in good standing;

6.3 Accept the objectives of The Alliance and this Constitution by a minuted resolution at a properly constituted general meeting of its members.

6.4 Notwithstanding that membership is restricted to organisations as referred to in 6 above, each member Body may be represented at any meeting of the Alliance whether General or Executive by not more that two participating members, excluding observing members and providing that those two members are duly mandated to represent the body they belong to.

6.5. It is hereby recorded that membership of The Alliance is granted to a member organisation and that the individuals so representing that organisation are understood to speak for and on behalf of their parent body and so carry that body’s mandate to express their views.

7. The bodies, which have attested to this Constitution, shall be the members of The Alliance together with any body that is admitted as a member in terms of Clause 8.

8. 8.1 After the founding of The Alliance, any body which applies for membership shall, if it qualifies in terms of the provisions of Clause 6, be admitted as a member, excepting that The Alliance reserves the right to associate or disassociate itself with any other body in accordance with the provision of this Constitution.

8.2 It is hereby noted that the Ratepayers, Civics and Residents Associations that caused the formation The Alliance in June 2005 are automatically accepted as full members of The Alliance and, by virtue of their involvement in the inaugural meetings of the Association, hereby bind themselves to this Constitution.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE GCTCA AND ITS ACTIVITIES, CONTACT JOHN POWELL OF CBRRA ON campsbayratepayers@gmail.com