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Civil Society push for a freeze on municipal rates, taxes and tariffs during uncertain economic times.

  • failing municipalities
  • over-taxed South Africans
  • checks and balances to protect property owners.

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    It is against this background that we urge Minister Mboweni, National Treasury, SA Local Government Association (SALGA), and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) to impose an immediate freeze on rates and tax increases at the local government level.

    The Municipal Property Rates Act contains checks and balances to protect property owners. The “General Guidelines” issued as an addendum to the Act in March 2020 states the following:

    “The Minister responsible for local government, with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance, can limit the cent amount in the Rand rate that municipalities impose, if such proof can be provided that such a cent amount in the Rand rate on specific category of properties is materially and unreasonably prejudicing national economic policies, economic activities across municipal boundaries or the national mobility of goods, services, capital or labour.”

    Therefore, it is entirely within the Minister responsible for local government’s power (with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance) to impose a freeze on rates in the interests of national economic policy.

    South Africans are already over-taxed. To continue to allow municipalities and metros to award themselves generous pay increases is to encourage resentment and disobedience – as that will surely follow.

    We are not encouraging tax revolts, as we believe there are better ways to achieve fiscal responsibility. However, assuming this is business as usual cannot continue.

    Rates and tax increases at local government level must be halted until South Africa is restored to pre-Covid lockdown levels of employment and economic activity. In light of the above, and on behalf of DearSA’s supporters but more importantly on behalf of the millions of South Africans who are suffering economically and subjected to deteriorating municipality management, we call on the Minister of Finance to put a freeze on municipal increases in rates and taxes until this economic downturn is behind us.