Civil rights organisation AfriForum has written to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, asking him to intervene in the matter of the city cleansing levy to be implemented by the Tshwane metropolitan municipality.
According to AfriForum, such a levy does not comply with the constitutional framework of the city and it has informed the city accordingly.
Morne Mostert, AfriForum’s head of local government affairs, said the levy compelled taxpayers to pay an additional amount of R127.04 for residential properties and R2 911.67 for business properties per month.
According to AfriForum, this levy is not contained in the municipality’s strategic planning document and this document further indicated that the public wasn’t informed of this in advance. “It is typical that the municipality wants to collect additional funds which falls outside of its budget framework,” Mostert said.
He said the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Act, 2007 (Act No 12 of 2007) makes provision for the authorisation of tax, levies and duties which the municipality can impose in terms of the constitution. However, it first needs to be approved by the minister of finance.
Mostert said the city cleansing levy fell within the scope of this Act, seeing as it was based on a fixed monthly amount and was not associated with the degree in which the service was supplied to individual owners or utilised by them.
AfriForum said the city sent them a letter in which they indicated that this levy was a direct service fee and that the minister’s permission was not necessary. However, Mostert said there was no connection between the service and the cost thereof.
“Some business owners will need to pay up more than double their current property tax, which is unreasonable,” Mostert said.
Samkelo Mgobozi, Tshwane mayoral spokesperson, said claims alleging that the city’s cleansing levy was unlawful are baseless. “This tariff was widely canvassed and approved unanimously by council when it approved the 2017-18 budget. It has, in fact, been part of the refuse removal tariff since August 2000.”
He said Section 156(5) of the constitution also determined that a municipality had the right to exercise any power concerning a matter reasonably necessary for, or incidental to, the effective performance of its functions.
Mgobozi said the city cleansing levy is to cover the cost of, for example, illegal dumping and city and street cleaning services.