Despite official assurances that a Services Appeal Tribunal would be appointed before the end of last year in Mpumalanga Province, the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) has learned that the appointment has yet to take place.
“Despite a year of hard lobbying and correspondence with the Province, property developers still have no recourse to appeal services contributions, despite a legal right to do so,” says SAPOA CEO Neil Gopal.
“We have no choice but to take the grave step of escalating this matter to the Office of the Public Protector.”
The purpose of a Services Appeal Tribunal is to allow property developers to appeal decisions made by municipalities and obtain independent resolution in such matters.
“A Tribunal is critical to the objective resolution of disputes between developers and municipalities, and safeguards the right to appeal enshrined in our Constitution,” he explains.
SAPOA was alerted to the situation in Mpumalanga last year when local members pointed out that there has been no Tribunal in place for over three years, despite it being provided for in Section 124 of the Town Planning and Township Ordinance 1986.
The Province provided written assurance that the Tribunal would be appointed by the end of November 2013, but no such appointment has been made.
Gopal notes the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act No. 3 of 2000 (PAJA) views a failure to act as an administrative action that can be taken to court if all internal process for appeal are exhausted.