It was “anticipated” that the Municipal Property Rates Amendment Bill would be tabled in Parliament between May and June this year, Head of Communications for the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department Mbulelo Musi has told a media briefing.
Musi said the objective was to be able to say “we have developed norms and standards because the way the Municipal Property Rates Act is presently managed is differentiated and quite complicated.
“We therefore want to encourage transparency in this process.”
One target of the new dispensation is guest houses, bed and breakfast estab-lishments and small hotels with Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Yunus Carrim saying when the legislation was first gazetted that the intention was to ensure that such establishments paid commercial rates.
He said that contrary to some reports people who owned more than one residential property would not be required to pay commercial rates on the additional residential properties.
Carrim said if necessary the Bill would be amended to clarify the situation before it was submitted to Parliament.
“Essentially, the Municipal Property Rates Act is being amended to make property rating simpler, more transparent, more uniform and easier to implement,” he said, adding that the legislation had been drafted in response to complaints from some municipalities about the difficulties associated with implementation.
Carrim said the only additional shifts in the legislation were:
*Properties used for trading in and hunting of game would be regarded as agricultural property and subject to rates “in the interests of equity and fairness”.
*Expression would be given to the need for greater uniformity in rating houses owned by recipients of old-age pensions and disability grants, and
*Aspects of public service infrastructure would be excluded from property rates because of their contribution to the country’s developmental needs.
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