PUBLIC ALERT: NEW RATES BILL TO HAVE DIRE EFFECT ON JOB CREATION AND PROPERTY MARKET

The draft Municipal Property Rates Amendment Bill will have dire effects for employment creation and future property development in the country and put more pressure on state housing should it be passed in parliament.

The passing of this Bill in its current form would be suicide for the economic advancement of tourism and for property development in this country.

In order to speed up employment government should be relaxing punitive rates on such establishments and should be offering incentives for people to start businesses from their homes.

The Democratic Alliance urges the public to comment before tomorrow, 22 July 2011, to the Senior Manager, Municipal Finance and Viability, Department of Cooperative governance. The email address is mpra@cogta.gov.za.

I have today written to the Department regarding the application of these proposed rates and the effects it will have for future economic advancement in this country.

Probably the most controversial aspect of the Bill is the levying of commercial rates on so-called second properties.

The Deputy Minister, Yunis Carrim, has stated that these commercial rates will be directed at guesthouse and bed and breakfast establishments and not second properties.

However, of concern is that the Minister does not say if other properties could face the same fate — for example occasional-let holiday homes or chalets.

Unemployment in South Africa is at an all time high.

Every effort needs to be made to create conditions for employment opportunity, not negate them.

The entrepreneurial spirit which allows citizens to open guest houses or purchase property for rental investment must not be dampened by imposing this irresponsible legislation.

Income from tourism, of which guest houses play a significant part, must be sustained.

Tourism is one potential growth area for sustained employment creation.

Levying commercial rates on second properties and guest house establishments will only drive up costs and cause many to close down or downscale causing potential further job losses across the country.

If landlords can’t use property to gain income from rental, this will also put greater pressure and dependency on more state housing to be provided at even possible greater cost than income gleaned from commercial rates.

We urge every citizen to access this Bill from the website of COGTA at www.cogta.co.za or the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs at www.dplg.gov.za

As our Constitution mandates participatory local government from citizens this is that opportunity now more than ever to make our concerned voices heard in this matter.

South Africa, stand up and be counted.