State of the City Address and the Reality of the Situation in Joburg

 

Mayor Herman Mashaba presented the State of the City Address last week. It is long and difficult to summarise as he laid out the challenges facing the City, what he has done about overcoming them and also his future plans. You can read the whole speech here.

The reality is there is so much to do – it will take years, and in some cases, decades to turn the city around. But, as I have said in previous newsletters, things have started improving. Maybe not as much as you and I would like, but they are getting better and will continue to get better as time goes on.

One of the best summaries of the Mayor’s speech is by Mmusi Maimane in an article titled: Johannesburg has a long way to go, but it’s heading in the right direction. In it, Mmusi says:

Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba gave his second State of the City address on Wednesday, marking the first full reporting year under his leadership. Without doubt the Johannesburg we dream of is still a very long way away. But I am 100% confident the City is heading in the right direction.

Turning around a city in decline is like turning around a large ocean-going liner that is travelling in the wrong direction. First you must slow it down, then stop it, turn it around, get it moving in the right direction, and then power it up to full speed.

When a seven-party DA-led coalition took over the running of Cape Town in mid-2006, this is exactly the process that played out. By the end of 2007, visible change was not as marked as residents had expected. And yet behind the scenes, the right systems and processes were being put in place to get the city moving forward.

Mashaba’s team inherited road, water and electrical networks all in a dire state of decay, a massive service delivery backlog and a monstrous debt of R17 billion, R5 billion of which was due this year. With scarce resources and huge demands on multiple fronts, prioritizing is everything and trade-offs are unavoidable. Mashaba is clear about his top priorities.

Read the rest of what Mmusi says here.

And in an interview with City Press today, Herman unapologetically says that “I need money and time” to turn the City around:

There is simply not enough money to remedy service-delivery issues in Johannesburg and Mayor Herman Mashaba refuses to entrap himself with unrealistic deadlines.

The businessman-turned-politician is not ashamed to admit that not even five years is adequate to resolve the backlog in the system completely, including repairs of basic things, such as potholes across the city, street lights, storm-water drainage, traffic lights, electricity and housing, all of which need an injection of about R170 billion.

On several occasions when asked by City Press about his turnaround time to resolve service-delivery issues, Mashaba said: “I cannot promise to deal with this overnight, it will catch up with me.”

Eventually he drops the bomb: “There is no chance that I can address them in the next five years.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Community News

Tue 8 May: Blairgowrie Community Association (BCA) AGM, Blairgowrie Rec Centre, Parklane, 6’30 pm. The BCA will present a report back on their activities over the past year and their plans for the future. Read the last year’s report here.

Wed 9 May: Community Meeting on the Shothole Borer Epidemic Affecting our Trees, 6 pm, Gallery Momo, 72 7th Ave, Parktown North. Tree surgeon Julian Ortlepp will talk on what shothole borer is, how to identify affected trees and what to do if your trees are infected. The Parktown North Residents Association (PNRA) will also reveal what they will be doing to save the Parktown North street trees and also about the deal they have negotiated for residents with infected trees in their gardens. Places are strictly limited – please email residents@parktownnorth.org to book yoyr place.

Wed 9 May: Linden CPF Community Feedback Meeting, Linden SAPS Hall, 6’30 pm. The Linden CPF will be joined by the Johannesburg West Cluster and Dept. of Safety. All community groups, Resident’s Associations, Security Companies and anyone else interested in security in the Linden precinct are welcome to attend. This is for Ward 117 residents in Victory Park, Pierneef Park, Pine Park and Blairgowrie.

Mon 21 May: Meet the New JMPD Chief, The Pavilion, Marks Park, Emmarentia, 6 pm. Chief David Tembe will present his plans for community policing in are suburbs. All residents in Region B are welcome to attend.

Sat 26 May: De La Salle School Highland Gathering, cnr Road #3 and 3rd Ave, Victory Park, 9am-4pm. This is a competition for pipe bands from all over South Africa as well as a highland dancing competition. The gathering will close with spectacular Massed Bands marching to the sounds of bag pipes and other instruments at about 4pm. There will be food stalls, craft market and activities for the children as well a tea and beer garden. Entrance is R30 (R20 for pensioners). Fun park for the children: R120 unlimited play. More info: Rosemary Attwell 083-448-4046.

20 June: Parkview CPF Annual Meeting, venue and time TBA. Residents in Parkhurst and Parktown North (Ward 117 suburbs) are encouraged to diarise this meeting. The CPF acts as a liaison between the community, security companies and the communities in the suburbs they serve.

Planned Water Outage in Bath Ave, Rosebank on 15 May 

About 500 properties in the Bath Ave area of Rosebank will be affected by a planned outage to tie in the new pipes being laid in the street. It will start at 9am and end around 3’30pm. But as always, be prepared for delays or problems that may well prolong the outage.

By-Election in Ward 88

Congrats to Cllr David Hensman who was elected as ward councillor with 80% of the vote at the 25 April by-election. The ward results were: DA 3083 (79.7%); Ind 466 (12%); ANC 284 (7.3%); EFF 37 (1%); Total 3870; Turnout 25.2%.

Ward 88 consists of the following suburbs: Emmarentia, Melville (portion), Westdene (portion), Roosevelt Park, Montroux, Waterval Estate, Risidale, Northcliff (portion), Valeriedene, Berario (portion). Contact him via his webpage and you can sign up for his email newsletter by clicking here.

I Missed the Valuation Roll Objection Deadline: What Do I Do Now?

You have to file a Section 78 Query. It is quite complicated, so I asked a lawyer contact for a quick summary:

  • You can object to the COJ’s 2018 GV outside of the deadline for objections (which closed on 6 April 2017), it’s a long and frustrating process called a “Section 78 Query”.
    • You first lodge a query with the municipality saying that you think that your property is incorrectly valued or categorised.
    • It should then appear on Supplementary 1 Roll (due out next year April or so).
    • You then object (if you are unhappy with the details).
    • You must then follow the objection/appeal/review process through to its conclusion.
    • If the property valuation is amended on the Supp 1 Roll, and there is an increase, it only kicks in with effect from the commencement date of Supp 1 Roll.

I then asked the City of Joburg for their comments:

  • Late objections will NOT be accepted.
    • You may lodge a Section 78 query, but please note that priority will be given to the objections received within the official objection period.
    • Your Section 78 query will be considered by the Municipal Valuer and you will receive notification of the Municipal Valuers decision in terms of Section 78(5)(a) read together with Section 78(5)(b) of the Municipal Property Rates Act 6 of 2004 as amended, that a Supplementary Valuation to the General Valuation Roll for your property been completed and you may then if you so desire, request a Section 78 review with the Municipal Manager in respect of any matter reflected in the supplementary valuation within the period stipulated on the notice.
    • The Section 78 outcome will be printed in a Supplementary Valuation Roll and you will then have the opportunity to object to the Supplementary Valuation Roll, and to Appeal if you are not happy with the outcome of your objection.
    • The Section 78 query form to be completed can be requested / submitted to the following email address: valuationenquiries@joburg.org.za

Can I Do It Myself?

If you want to do it yourself then I would advise you to use the email above to obtain the query form which needs to be completed and submitted with any relevant documentation that you have to substantiate your query. You can email it back with the attached documents.

However, I would suggest you make an arrangement to visit the Valuations Dept at 2nd Floor, B Block, Metro Centre, 158 Civic Boulevard, Braamfontein. At least then you know it has been received. However, they are really busy processing all the objections and it is unlikely they will go through it to make sure it is done properly.

My Advice

If you are tech savvy, have good attention to detail and are tenacious, then do it yourself. If you are a bit of a luddite, very busy and/or tend to lose track of things, then it may be a good idea to use a lawyer to make sure the application is done correctly and so they can follow up and make sure you are properly notified.

Someone Else Has Objected to My Valuation? What Do I Do Now Part 2

Some residents are receiving Section 51 notices from the City advising them that an objection has been lodged on their property valuation by someone other than the owner. I suspect that it is Dr Mclaren from Howick and I also suspect that he has been using recent property sales as the basis for his objection.

So if you have recently purchased a property that is valued at more than the new municipal valuation, you may be receiving a Sect 51 notice in the post soon.

You need to deal with it as if it were a normal objection. The owner must submit representations as to why their property is incorrectly re-valued by 31 May as per the notice and they need take their supporting documents in person to the Valuation Services Dept, A Block, 4th Floor, Civic Centre, Braamfontein.

Step 4 – If Nothing Happens for 2 Months

The above processes should now each take about 2 months (note that the meters are sometimes out of stock). If you have paid for a new smart meter or a conversion, and nothing has happened for two months (or longer if you have already applied, especially before the DA took over), then you can escalate it to me via email. I will need…

Name
Cell
Address
Acct #
Old Meter # (if getting a smart meter or if you have a now defunct Hefcom meter)
Smart Meter # (if getting a conversion)
Date you applied
Attach your receipt

I will pass it on to the metering team and speed up the process for you.

I would advise you to take a certified copy of your ID and a copy of your account. If you are not the owner, you will need a letter authorising you act on their behalf and a certified copy of their ID. Take note of who you spoke to, the date and keep your receipts.

Join The DA

If you want to join the DA, it costs R10 a year, or, I would recommend you take out a 5 year membership of R50. Please contact my Branch Membership Secretary – Teigue Payne on 082-892-2218 / teigue.payne@gmail.com. He will send the address where you can sign up and pay online. You can be from anywhere in Joburg as you will be allocated by Head Office to the Branch in your respective ward.

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