Gordhan: Rates boycott unacceptable

2011-09-14 11:21

Cape Town - It is "totally unacceptable" for ratepayer groups to refuse to pay their rates and place their money in trust accounts, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday.

"This is totally unacceptable behaviour," Gordhan told media in a briefing on the local government budgets and expenditure review.

"It is something we want to engage with Salga (the SA Local Government Association) on and get a clear message through that if you live in South Africa you are a South African citizen, you are using municipal services - you pay for them."

Gordhan said the emerging "trend" shown by ratepayer groups was something that required "very strong discussions".

"This kind of non-compliance with the law is not acceptable at all."

He said many of the issues ratepayers had with their municipalities could be resolved "the South African way".

"We sit around the table, we say what our challenges are and we find practical solutions to them. Creating tension and antagonism doesn't help."

Gordhan said the Treasury would be working with Salga and "bigger municipalities" to get more assertive debt collection processes and to write off debt that was "uncollectable".

He said given the fiscal constraints faced by the government, political and administrative leaders had to do more to cut down on "improper" procurement practices and on fraud and corruption.

"There is no doubt much more could be done in this area than is being done," he said.

The Treasury "looked forward" to working with the auditor general and accountant general on putting "more stringent requirements in place" and getting better cooperation from officials and political leaders to ensure that taxpayers and ratepayers money was not "frittered away" without proper justification.

Municipalities, he said, had to do more to ensure they took decisions that ensured better quality spending.

"Municipalities need to focus on delivering services, on building their capacity, on building economic infrastructure, on investing the right amount in capital infrastructure and on both maintenance on infrastructure and the development of new infrastructure."

They also had to "forget the frills" such as buying a "brand new Mercedes or anything else like that".

"That will make a significant contribution to enabling municipalities to enable the national fiscus to cope with some of the stresses and strains of the very uncertain economic environment in which we are living."

  • jake somber - 2011-09-14 11:27

    ... and if you don't get the services you pay for? What then? Do you get re-reimbursed?

  • Colin - 2011-09-14 11:27

    Cant pay for something we not getting ..............

  • Jonathan - 2011-09-14 11:36

    Why should we pay for something we do not receive? If the municipality is incapable of managing the funds it receives then I think the rate payers should hold back their hard earned money. Mr Gordhan you need to see where the problem lies. People are getting sick and tired of the waste in incompetence.

  • DW - 2011-09-14 11:37

    Its also unacceptable that rates are collected and then stolen/used fraudulently resulting in no service delivery. The rates boycotts are as a result of this problem. Address the problem, not the symptom.

  • Mark Fysh - 2011-09-14 11:45

    What is unacceptable, Mr. Gordgan, is the Municipal incompetence that led to withholding rates in the first place. Consumers are to be applauded, not scolded!

  • Twoplusthree - 2011-09-14 11:46

    Gordhan: "you are using municipal services - you pay for them." Ratepayer: "So what about the 20 million receiving free services and not paying?" I wonder if Gordhan feels guilty collecting tax efficiently, only to see Zuma and clan wasting it on the other end?

  • Kevin - 2011-09-14 11:51

    YOU are wrong Gordhan. You want some people to pay for them and the others do not pay and then the municipalities write off billions of rands and make the paying people pay more for services. The municipalities are run by thugs and use the money received to give contracts to there mates so every service has an extra layer of costs. in Plettenberg Bay the mayor gave a consultant a 4 year contract at R40000 per month and the ars# is not even qualified to be a consultant and as far as I can gather has not done any work in 3 and a half years . When Gordhan can stop thuggery in the anc run municipalities and stop his thugs in the municiplaities giving out contracts that are totally inflated in cost then we might stand a chance. The municipalities are also totallly over staffed with every one giving his cousin and aunty a job. Fire 50% of teh municipal staff and we will still be overstaffed. Now you see Gordhan that I have only scratched the surface and that your house is not in order. Lastly ,why are the non payers still getting services and why are illegal connections everywhere without getting disconnected and the people charged and jailed. GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER

  • Judith - 2011-09-14 11:53

    Has he actually proposed that this happen? Billing a complete mess in Johannesburg and no-one in the council willing to discuss or resolve the problem. Complete lack of service delivery all over, broken sewerage works polluting precious water courses and compromising human and animal health - but no-one responding to communities' calls for action. If our rates are being misused (and they are) is it surprising that communities are taking their power back and doing the jobs themselves? Catch a wake up Minister Gordhan! You need to drive the process because no-one in local government is remotely interested in doing their job.

  • Sambok - 2011-09-14 11:55

    If the municipalities provided the services which was paid for it would not be necessary to boycott. What other recource do we have to get what we pay for you corrupt useless ANC?

  • andrew.arnesen - 2011-09-14 11:56

    Not, Minister Gordhan, it is more complex than you wish to make out - any issue of taxation is an implicit contract between government (in this case local) and the tax-payers. The contract is for services to be delivered and in exchange, monies to be paid. If either side is not getting what they agreed to, they are entitled to declare a breach of contract and with-hold their contribution. If you had a contract to get 100 minutes of air-time and they only gave you 20, you would be perfectly entitled to withhold payment until they gave you the balance 80 minutes. There is very little difference here in principle or, in fact, the Law. Give people what they are paying for or forget about payment - why should we throw our money down the toilet?

  • Brendan - 2011-09-14 11:57

    Piss off Pravin . . . . you are just as much of a criminal.

  • PAnzi_ne_ANC - 2011-09-14 11:57

    well mr gordham i have news flashes for you, if your corrupt and incotepent chronies stopped stealing our money or using it to further buy votes from the tax parasites who live in the local townships and dont pay taxes we wouldnt have to declare dis[putes for service paid and NOT RENDERED..for you info in any country in th world, if u have paid for something or are ex[ected to pay for somethg, you have the right to demand that said things are dlivered. is that not so mr finiancial wizard of the cANCer orgaination of SA

  • nonduplume - 2011-09-14 11:57

    Dear Minister, once again your mouth is moving but nothing is coming out. The ANC has destroyed muncipal infrastructure in the past 17 years and all you have done is blame ratepayers for not putting their hard-earned money into a bottomless corruptable pit. Nothing is going to chnage until you stand up and be counted. Show some bloody backbone for a change and put your useless cadre comrades in jail where they belong!

  • olivier62 - 2011-09-14 12:00

    the question Mr Gordhan is: are we receiving the municipal services that we are "paying for"?? in many instances the answer is "no" or "not all/poor quality"! as SA citizens we expect to receive services that we pay for, that, as citizens, is our right, agree?

  • William Reyneke - 2011-09-14 12:01

    Paying = Start delivering + Stop stealing + stop wasting

  • rumsour - 2011-09-14 12:01

    Quote - It is "totally unacceptable" for ratepayer groups to refuse to pay their rates and place their money in trust accounts - end quote. So the ratepayer must "give" money to the municipality whose failure to deliver the services for which the ratepayer was billed, led to the ratepayers association creating a trust fund in the first place. The ratepayer obviously wants (see trust fund) to pay for the services they receive, HOWEVER they DO NOT want to "give" the money away.

  • olivier62 - 2011-09-14 12:02

    another thing, a solution the SA way is not "around a table talking", it is dancing, singing, shouting and breaking as much around us as possible, not so?

  • Rooikop - 2011-09-14 12:03

    And if there were no services, why still pay for them?

  • - 2011-09-14 12:04

    What is totally unacceptable is the way that municipalities mismanage and totally ignore their duties and responsibilities, and get away with fraud, nepotism, indifference and outright incompetence. Maybe if all those who used municipal services did actually pay for them things might improve? At least these ratepayer groups are doing something sensible. Thank heavens I live in the Western Cape!

  • Sedick - 2011-09-14 12:05

    Pravin, it is also not acceptable that the Ratepayers should be subjected to pathetic services and the rampant corruption, fraud, tenderpreneuring, etc prevalent within municipalities. Maybe they feel that this is the only way that they can be heard, and that action will be taken. In the real world, when you do not like a product or service, you move to a competitor. When it comes to Local Municipalities, Ratepayers do not have that luxury, and have to pay regardless of the service delivery - lack thereof.

  • Jonathan - 2011-09-14 12:05

    Dude, the only way we can protect our rates and taxes is to not hand it over to your government...this IS the South African way!

  • Leon Nel - 2011-09-14 12:06

    clown, do you not think these ratepayers tried to sit aournd the table. These associations were formed as a last resort, beaucase some municipalities were run to ground by the local goverment, beacuase they want to drive aroudn in brand new Mercs. You have effectient goverement, and that will be the end of Rates Payers associations. Simple, STOP the sickness, not the symptoms

  • Quinton Trout - 2011-09-14 12:10

    Easy for you to say Pravin!!! You are not affected by the non delivery by municipalities. Let them first show compliance before expecting us to pour money down the drain.

  • Dirk - 2011-09-14 12:17

    Well I just say that if you don't receive and services from your municipality why pay them!

  • supersubs - 2011-09-14 12:23

    I am a proud South African citizen but I do not agree Gordan’s statement that we should solve these kind of issues the “The South African” way. That is just plain rubbish. Some Municipalities miss manage / steel funds that has been worked hard for by private citizens. To sit around a table discussing this will not help, rather implement proper control systems to streamline delivery and not wait for a discussion with the end-user to identify the problem areas.

  • Gadafi007 - 2011-09-14 12:31

    Too late ,your buddies took every cent

  • bdj - 2011-09-14 12:32

    They also had to "forget the frills" such as buying a "brand new Mercedes or anything else like that". That sentence alone explains the ratepayers' reasons.

  • GetRich - 2011-09-14 12:34

    Typical SA government. Pay for services you dont get, cause they always striking... Refuse removals, constant power cuts, hell fire in the veld next door a night or 2 ago and guess what, the fire department is striking!

  • $Sign - 2011-09-14 12:42

    It's quite simple Mr Gordhan, you pay for the services you get. If there is no service delivery why should you have to pay? This could go all the way through to the contitutional court, and you know would loose, have wasted more of the tax payers money and still not get paid. Remove the inept personalities that don't know how to cut a blade of grass let alone run a muncipality! Get the right people to do the job, and get a president without a crooked spine whilst you're at it.

  • jaquanau100 - 2011-09-14 12:42

    Its only "totally unacceptable" to you because it means you do not get money for jam. If your bloody government cant use the money properly people will use it more effectively for you. Get used to it.

  • Iceman - 2011-09-14 12:42

    I quote:"It is something we want to engage with Salga (the SA Local Government Association) on and get a clear message through that if you live in South Africa you are a South African citizen, you are using municipal services - you pay for them." Dear Pravin. If there is no or little service delivery, would you agree that sending the rates bill and demanding payment constitutes theft? If the incompetent municipalities start delivering, we will have no problem paying. So the boycott is as the result of unacceptable service delivery. Sort your back yard out first.

  • Matheom - 2011-09-14 12:43

    "if you live in South Africa you are a South African citizen, you are using municipal services - you pay for the" -the very reasons groups are putting their rates in fund is because they are not receiving the service. And i dont think anyone wants to deal with problem 'the South African way' which is, on behalf of the government, simply ignoring the problem and not doing anything about it

  • Scorpius - 2011-09-14 12:44

    Dear Mr Minister, we will stop doing that, as soon as we get decent services for the rates we are paying. At the moment our rubbish lies up to 2 weeks before being removed, water in my are has sky rocketed to R11.05c per unit etc

  • crocoros - 2011-09-14 12:50

    What is the "South African Way" mr Gordhan. Just pay until you blue in the face and still you lose your never ending fight with the municipalities

  • Stuart 8000 - 2011-09-14 12:51

    The "South African way" is for the majority of municipalities to waste, steal or tenderpreneur the funds away. They deserve every boycott. Address that and the boycotts will go away. Not rocket science.

  • IsMyOpinion - 2011-09-14 12:51

    Not only should we be putting our rates and taxes into a trust but our PAYE. Fraud and corruption are a major issue and until Government can show us that they are truly doing something about the issue and account & validate for every cent of our hard earned money, we should stop giving it to them to waste and rather pay for privatized services ourselves!

  • FreedomFight - 2011-09-14 12:53

    Hey Pravin - get your head out of your @rse and think on this bit of info - people refuse to pay, because no services are being delivered. It is equally illegal for the state to charge or expect to be paid for something not delivered. You really are a presumptuous idiot.

  • LeeuWTVL - 2011-09-14 12:54

    "Gordhan: "We sit around the table, we say what our challenges are and we find practical solutions to them." The minister must be joking. Sitting round the table and talking didn't help in the first place. The taxpayers unions had to hold back their rates and pay the people from outside who are doing the jobs from the trust accounts. It works.

  • QTPi - 2011-09-14 12:54

    How's about you fix the services FIRST and then demand money for them cde Gordhan..

  • ANC support - 2011-09-14 12:55

    "Municipalities need to focus on delivering services" What a joke, ...they only focus on corruption to see where can they steal next!

  • Rob_666 - 2011-09-14 12:56

    ... He said many of the issues ratepayers had with their municipalities could be resolved "the South African way". The South African way is not to pay, you idiot

      DirtySamurai - 2011-09-14 13:48

      No Rob, The South African way is to burn down the muncipal offices and beat up a few councillors

  • Rob_666 - 2011-09-14 12:59

    It is "totally unacceptable" for ratepayer groups to refuse to pay their rates... It is "Totally unacceptable" for the local goverment managers to steal all the money and not deliver services

  • pop101 - 2011-09-14 13:02

    It is totally unacceptable behavior that Municipalities fail to deliver basic services to the person who pays for such services.

  • mhpheiffer - 2011-09-14 13:03

    Maybe instead of saying it's unacceptable, go look at the route cause of why Rate payers are doing it and the lack of co-operation from Municipalities. Why should we pay Rates & taxes for services not rendered! That is the true issue at hand.

  • GrainOfTruth - 2011-09-14 13:06

    No, Pravin. Your South African way is to ignore grievances until they refuse to pay, and then you try to behave to the general population the way you behave with your staff. What is really "totally unacceptable" is your willingness to take our money through all sorts of taxes, levies, fees and charges -- but still refuse to actually take accountability for producing even basic quality service and services. We were indeed paying, but you and your lot stopped delivering. Now that we stop paying, you say we must pay first and come and sit around a table so that you and your mates can tell us "sorry, what?" Seriously, vo.e.ts.ek and get real.

  • ChrisW - 2011-09-14 13:06

    I've just bought a house in Bryanston. Try and open a rates account to pay your rates. LOL

  • Koda - 2011-09-14 13:06

    Ja right, pay for services that we never receive..

  • DoublySalmon - 2011-09-14 13:07

    "If you live in South Africa you are a South African citizen, you are using municipal services - you pay for them". If you're the government and we're paying you to do a job, you better do it otherwise we won't pay you. People withhold tax because the government doesn't deliver the required services. The government is breaking the agreement of we pay, they serve. If we're legally obliged to pay, they are legally obliged to deliver.

  • p123 - 2011-09-14 13:14

    Why should we pay for all their fraud and corruption. What services are we getting? Very little, useless Govt can't even sort out minibus Taxi's let alone make them pay tax.We should also hold back on income taxes and VAT!!!

  • pop101 - 2011-09-14 13:14

    It is not unacceptable if the municipality doesn't render services. Maybe we must do the same with Income Tax till Government stop wasting our money.

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