Rising municipal rates and taxes is a hot-button issue – one that negatively affects, not only operating costs and gross rentals, but also makes demand on property management resources. To this end, the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) have re-appointed specialist consultants Rates Watch on a 5 year contract to monitor rates policies.
Rates Watch’s mandate from SAPOA will continue to focus on unearthing municipal budget information on key property related costs, like rates and taxes, electricity, or water in SA’s eleven largest municipalities. They will monitor rates policies in the following cities: City of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Buffalo City, Mangaung, eThekwini, Msunduzi, Ekurhuleni, City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane, Polokwane and Mbombela respectively. They will be responsible for identifying, analyzing and collecting information on relevant municipal policies and legislation, as well as the municipalities’ Medium-Term Revenue and Expenditure Frameworks, at eleven of the largest metropolitan municipalities throughout SA.
SAPOA represents companies and organisations in the commercial property sector, and, as CEO Neil Gopal points out, “SAPOA members contribute significantly to the rates base, and we believe it to be in the interest of both ourselves and municipalities across SA to partner on this matter. As a sector, commercial and industrial property wants to contribute in a positive way towards the efficient functioning of municipalities.”
SAPOA has, in the past, been vocal in challenging the legality of increased municipal rates charged to its members: “Our primary goal is to alert our property owner and investor members to changes in property-related municipal costs that could impact them,” says Gopal.