OPINION: ‘New pensioner rebate policy is ludicrous’

DEAR Editor,-

What is Ray Nkonyeni Municipality attempting to achieve with the new harshly punitive rates policy towards pensioner ratepayers who qualify for a ‘Pensioner’s Rebate’ on property rates?

Does RNM really consider that such pensioners are the custodians of ‘white monopoly capital’ and are now to be targeted for ‘radical economic transformation’?

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Does RNM not appreciate that such pensioners were previously subjected to a strict vetting process to ensure that their financial situations were such that they qualified for rates relief?

The ‘so called’ new policy implemented by RNM does, in effect, bring those pensioner ratepayers (who previously received relief) very close to standard rates liability.

So much for rates relief – what relief? Many ratepayers will say that the new policy is outrageous, ludicrous, iniquitous, despotic and also idiotic, to use some adjectives to describe it! I could not agree more with them and I share those sentiments.

The ‘powers that be’ in RNM overlook the hard fact that many of the pensioner ratepayers that are now affected, did, in years past, contribute to building up of the infrastructure that RNM and its predecessor HCM inherited from the former separate municipalities?

It is to be hoped that RNM will reconsider this new ‘so called rebate policy’ for qualifying pensioner ratepayers.

As one of those adversely affected by this new rates policy, it concerns me that RNM is allowing those ratepayers who have ceased paying rates, or who are seriously in arrears, to remain in that status quo and are not taking corrective action of any kind.

When last did you see a ‘Sale in Execution’ by the municipality to recover large amounts owed to them for arrears rates? Why not invoke a ‘Sale in Execution’ where rates are seriously in arrears on a vacant stand – nobody will be evicted from their dwelling!

Pensioner ratepayers, in general, are responsible people who hold true to the old values of accountability and paying for what they get.

Why does the municipality not annually publish a list of all properties and their registered owners with rates that are more than one (1) year in arrears? Instead they now ‘hammer’ those pensioners who have the good grace to pay their rates in full and on time.

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Perhaps it is time for those persons who have built ‘palaces’ in adjunct rural areas, to be likewise subjected to tax collection. After all, they use our roads, shopping centres and government offices in our municipal areas and refer to those ‘palaces’ that have water and electricity connections, amidst many humble homesteads surrounding them.

And look at the vehicles driven by the owners of those ‘palaces’ that pensioners could never hope or want to own. It is time for change!

AGGRIEVED PENSIONER RATEPAYER

Shelly Beach

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