Sunday Tribune 13 Jan 2019
System, value assist and other system stoppages, continuous market valuation requests by client departments for purchase, sale and lease, as well as the proposed valuation of investment properties.
The city’s chief financial officer, Krish Kumar, said the city processed all the general valuation objections that it could.
“A very small number still needs to be processed, but those require additional information from the objectors before we can process them. Our staff have been chasing up those objectors for the last few months. The Valuation Appeals Board is in the process of dealing with all objection outcomes that are greater than 10% and appeals. They schedule all hearings and sit about three times a month,” Kumar said.
DA caucus leader Nicole Graham said she was glad that the majority of objections were processed. “It has taken quite some time. This has been unfair to those who don’t believe their evaluations to be correct, and they have been paying that amount all this time. Ultimately, we need to expand the city’s rates base. The same people can’t keep paying more and more. When this item comes to exco, we will be urging those responsible to increase capacity so that this doesn’t happen again,” said Graham.
ETHEKWINI Municipality is investigating at least 150 cases in which residents and business owners expanded their property boundaries to include municipal land without permission. A list seen by Sunday Tribune shows most of the complaints emanate from Durban North, Morningside, Berea, Glenwood, Bluff and surroundings areas.
DA ward councillor for Morningside,
Christopher Pappas, said illegal
businesses and misuse of land was a common complaint. “Residents in Musgrave and Berea have for a long time been victims of rogue developments,
building and irregular land use. Many of these issues go unresolved when there are complaints or in other cases where there is clear wrongdoing by the municipality,” he said.
Lack of enforcement in the city was threatening a number of communities. “Whether it is abandoned buildings, illegal developments or incompatible land use, there is a clear failure to protect residents.”
Sheldon Jennings, director and founder of Archicheck, a firm that inspects properties, said illegal extensions were becoming the norm among property owners. “Too often homes are sold without the buyer having cross-referenced the structure against the existing building plans to ensure that it has been approved by the local council.”
A town planning official who asked not to be named said the department received complaints about irregular land use and town planning issues on a
daily basis. Last week the city made an eight-fold increase in the rates of a home owner after he turned his house in John Zikhali Road in Morningside into a car dealership.
The matter had been taken to the Magistrate’s Court for adjudication.