The City of Johannesburg has emphasised the importance of public scrutiny of proposed tariff increases for properties in the area. As a result, beginning on 1 July, properties across Johannesburg face a range of proposed increases for the 2023/24 financial year. According to Business Tech, these include an average property rate increase of 5.3%, a proposed refuse increase of 7.0%, a residential prepaid and post-paid water and sanitation increase of 9.3%, and an average electricity increase of 18.64%.
Speaking at an integrated Development Plan meeting in Finetown, Gauteng, at the start of the month, the speaker for the city encouraged residents to approve or disapprove with the country’s proposals before the Council tables them. The rise in rates and taxes has caused concerns among the public and specific organisations, including the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), which argued in February that the City of Joburg needs to ensure that property valuations are fair.
Cash-strapped consumers are already experiencing increasing interest rates, climbing inflation and a cost of living crisis. The city is mindful of the impact of annual increases, especially on people experiencing poverty, pensioners, and private lending institutions categorised as business or commercial. The city has proposed several interventions to shield people experiencing poverty and pensioners from rate hikes.
These include increasing the number of pensioner beneficiaries from 28,000 to approximately 50,000 pensioners, adjusting the property threshold for pensioners qualifying for the pensioner rebate from R2.5 million to R1.5 million for all pensioners from age 60 to 69 years, increasing income levels for pensioners, and granting a rebate to all pensioners. Additionally, privately owned schools, colleges and universities categorised as business and commercial qualify for a rebate on applications up to 30%.
Outa has provided steps for homeowners to investigate their valuations, including comparing the new value with the current value on the latest City of Joburg invoice, complaining if the new value has significantly increased, determining the value of the property and comparing it, and submitting a complaint with the City of Joburg if necessary.