City of Cape Town’s property valuation system ‘deeply flawed’

August 25, 2016

THE City’s property valuation system has been questioned after homeowners from all over the metro raised concerns about the value of their homes and tariffs increasing.

Homeowners have inundated the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance (GCTCA), an umbrella body which oversees residents’ associations in Cape Town, with complaints about the value of their properties increasing, according to GCTCA chairperson Philip Bam.

Bam yesterday deemed the City’s property valuation system as “deeply flawed”.

“We have met with various residents’ associations from all over Cape Town and the feedback we are getting is that homeowners, more particularly the middle class, are upset because the City has increased the value of their homes, thereby increasing their tariffs and taxes,” Bam said.

He said the middle class in the city were now suffering as they “simply cannot afford” to pay tariffs. “We have a situation now where not only the poor are affected, but the middle class as well. Everybody is faced with this problem and we are aware that the valuation system the City is using is deeply flawed,” he said.

Bam said the City’s valuation system is based on a Canadian model and not viable for Cape Town.

Hout Bay Residents and Ratepayers’ Association (HBRRA) chairperson Len Swimmer, who is also on the GCTA executive committee, echoed Bam’s sentiments.

“The City’s system is flawed and iniquitous. They are taxing people with rates they cannot afford and it’s affecting the middle class, and most especially pensioners who do not qualify for tax and tariff rebates.

“It might be working in Canada, but it most certainly is not working in Cape Town,” Swimmer said.

St James resident Michael Rossi said the value of his property in the area recently increased from R3 million to R6m.

Rossi insists his house is not worth R6m and he has approached the City to appeal its valuation. He said the City has not been forthcoming in their approach to deal with the matter.

“I appealed the valuation, but the City’s property valuation officers’ attitudes stink. “Initially they said they would come out to inspect the property, so that they could see for themselves there is no way my house can be valued so high, but then I was told I need to provide them with comparable evidence of sales of properties in the area to substantiate my proposed value,” Rossi said.

Rossi said it was difficult to make a comparison because no two properties are the same.

He said that he had been in contact with the City’s property valuer for the area, Jerry Iwegbuna, and the City’s valuation operations manager, Emil Weichardt, earlier this month to query the matter.

An e-mail from Iwegbuna to Rossi on August 11 reads: 
“I would like to inform you that the Property Rates Act compels us to determine market value, and that is the bases by which all properties are valued.

“The onus is on you to provide comparable evidence of sales of properties in your area to substantiate your proposed value, as I could not see any comparable motivation with your objection.”

“I feel like the City is robbing me because I cannot afford to pay the high tariffs that come with the new price of my property,” Rossi added.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said the City’s property valuations was based on the market value.

“The processes followed by the City comply with the Municipal Property Rates Act. The City’s latest general valuation shows that the total valuation of all rateable (sic) properties in the metro has increased from R911 billion in 2012 to R1 156bn in 2015, which is an important reason for the decrease in the rate in the rand or the rates portion of a municipal bill by about 
7 percent.”

3 comments to City of Cape Town’s property valuation system ‘deeply flawed’

  • J Crous

    I completely agree. Rates should be based on incomevof the owners.

  • Wojciech czornij

    Dear Sir
    I and my family are in full support of your latter and your statement that City of Cape Town is trying to drive us out of our houses by making absurd valuation of the properties is a true fact.
    I lodge the Objection to the supplementary valuation of my property on 22 Feb 2017 (the property was valued R13,080,000 which gave increase of 115% on the valuation of 12 months before).
    Now i received reply to my Objection and City of Cape Town instead of reducing the value they increased to R18,000,000.
    Since I and my wife are pensioners we are forced to sale the property.
    If you have any suggestion what we should do I will greatly appreciate.
    Wojciech Czornij
    (residential address & contact details removed by administrator)

  • Anton Sinovich

    This is an email I sent \”the City of Cape Town\”. Mr Neilsen said residents did not object to the valuations system in the recent article I said he is being dishones as this was my email to \”the City\”

    ——– Forwarded Message ——–
    Subject: Cape Town Stadium
    Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2016 22:29:00 +0200
    From: Anton Sinovich

    Dear Sir

    The City of Cape Town have been acting as an absolute tyranny over the
    ratepayers in Cape Town by having built this stadium on the Green Point
    Common or anywhere in Cape Town for that matter. The Environmental
    Impact assessment was a completely farcical affair, as were the meetings
    with the then major, Helen Zille and the various ratepayers in the
    surrounding area, at the Sea Point Civic Center. At the time there was a
    farcical raising of hands at that meeting to OK the building of the
    stadium, by unknown people who attended, creating another false
    impression that the ratepayers had agreed to the stadiums construction,
    which they had definitely not done. We kept on telling the City that
    none of wanted it nor did we think it a wise decision that they were
    desperate to force on us. Nevertheless the City steamrolled over the
    local Cape Town residents and ignored ratepayers. A local gentlemen
    stood up at that meeting and requested that it be noted that the people
    raising their hands at the meeting were not known ratepayers and were
    not our representatives.

    Since then there has been the dictatorial application of the injustice
    by the City of Cape Town demanding rates that are violently
    discriminatory, on the basis of a farcical \’valuation\’ of our
    properties. This is absurdly unjust, if it were no so evil, so as to
    force people who have lived in the area for many years to have to pay
    rates (or be driven out), not based on the services provided, but on a
    socialist dictatorships arrogant assertion that the City of Cape Town
    can demand rates based on property valuations. The implication is that
    the City of Cape Town believes that they are the owner of all private
    property in Cape Town and that, we the real owners, are merely tenants
    renting from the City !

    Secondly, the Green Point Common is a Common which is owned by all us
    \’commoners\’ in Cape Town and does not belong to the City Council and
    never will. The method in which the City re-zoned the Common using their
    position as the council by legal chicanery is a disgrace. This property
    must be restored as a Common and the stadium demolished. The profits
    gained by demolishing the stadium must be used to repay all rates
    personally that those who paid above the average of a flat rate for all
    of Cape Towns residents and should not be used for the City Councils
    coffers and the bloated bureaucracy, who don\’t all need to be employed
    at our expense.

    The only success of the Green Point Common has been the Green Point Park
    and I suggest expanding the park for all of the people of Cape Town to
    enjoy even more, as it is very well attended over the weekend and is
    getting quite overcrowded. I suggest removing the golf course section,
    increasing the park and moving the course over to where the stadium was
    demolished. In fact, I would say that the golf course is very
    exclusionary and should be removed from the common altogether and all of
    its extent be expanded to make up the Green Point Park and Common.

    Unless you attend to this matter with some urgency, you will face a
    ratepayer revolt, as the ratepayers in Cape Town are sick and tired of
    being ripped off and forced to pay for political extravagances and
    socialist work programs that nobody asked for or even wants.

    Yours sincerely

    Anton Sinovich
    Green Point
    Cape Town

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