Ruling on Rates and Levies Imposed by Bergriver Municipality
7 June 2013
The Constitutional Court on 6 June 2013 dismissed the application of JJ Liebenberg and other rural landowners who contended that certain municipal rates and levies imposed by the Bergrivier Municipality during the period 2001 to 2009 were unlawful.
In my capacity as Provincial Minister responsible for local government, I successfully applied to be admitted to the proceedings in the matter of JJ Liebenberg and Others vs Bergrivier Municipality in both the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court. I intervened in this matter, as I was concerned about the potential far-reaching financial consequences of the judgment in the Cape High Court, which favoured the rural landowners, on the Bergrivier Municipality as well as on other municipalities. I am further of the view that it is not in the interest of a municipality, its residents or the state for a substantial number of property owners not to contribute to the cost of providing municipal services through the payment of rates.
The ruling of the Constitutional Court that the municipality had properly imposed the rates in terms of the Local Government Transition Act for the 2006/2007 to 2008/2009 financial years and substantially complied with the relevant statutory requirements in respect of the challenges of the other years, is therefore welcomed.
Provinces have a constitutional obligation to monitor and support municipalities and this is what I did by intervening in this matter.
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