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Call for municipalities to reduce property rates

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Residents literally have to choose between keeping food on their tables or paying property rates. Municipalities can assist by reducing the rates or giving temporary exemption, Outa said.

THE ORGANISATION Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has called on municipalities countrywide to reduce property rates under the current state of disaster that was declared as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant financial impact on businesses and individuals and will continue to do so for several months to come. Municipalities around the country have the ability to assist South Africans financially by cutting or reducing property rates on their municipal bill,” Julius Kleynhans, operations executive for Outa, said on Tuesday.

According to Kleynhans, the temporary relief the organisation is petitioning for is contained in the Local Government Municipal Property Rates Act 6 of 2004.

“Thousands of people have lost their jobs or a significant part of their income, and not all property owners can afford to keep paying property rates due to the unexpected and unprecedented economic fallout of Covid-19. We have received calls from people who literally have to choose between keeping food on their tables or paying property rates, and municipalities can legally assist by reducing property rates or giving temporary exemption until such time as the state of disaster declaration has been lifted.”  

According to the Local Government Municipal Property Rates Act 6 of 2004, municipalities have the mandate to bring relief to its residents by form of exemptions, reductions and rebates on property rates as per section 15 (1) and (2) of the act. “This section expressly permits exemption and reductions within an area affected by a disaster within the meaning of the Disaster Management Act, 2002, Act 57 of 2002.”  

Outa has called on all residents and businesses to support this project by signing and sharing the petition which is available on its website and social social media pages. 

The petition closes on May 20, after which Outa will submit it to municipalities countrywide.