Rates errors

There has been an ongoing thread running through many news reports regarding the recent revaluation for rates purposes, of all properties in the municipal area. It has emerged from these reports that the property valuations were arrived at on a thumb-suck basis. Adjacent properties of similar size have been valued at radically different amounts and humble properties have been valued in millions.

Today’s Mercury, August 29, 2008, reports that that city manager Mike Sutcliffe, has admitted to 9000 errors having been found among the 50000 objections received. The errors add up to a R1.72-billion over valuation of the properties concerned. At the time he reported, there were still 20000 objections to be processed and 11000 which had been returned to property owners for more information, so there may be many more than the initial 9000 errors.

** The paper has a follow-up to the story in the previous post, that the navy was after new patrol vessels. The paper reports various experts as saying that the navy’s four frigates, which cost R6-billion, “are not ready or up for the job”. Other sources reported that the navy does not have the funds to properly operate or support their sophisticated Meko-class frigates. The cost lack of suitable patrol craft apparently prevents the navy from protecting our marine resources from rape.

It comes as no surprise to me that the frigates are unsuitable by being too sophisticated and/or expensive for our needs. I have been aboard one of them, the SAS Mendi, when it visited Durban. There is a write-up on my visit to the ship in the entry for November 9, 2004, on this page. Even to my untutored eye, the vessel looked far too elaborate for patrolling our coasts and seeing off the odd illegal fishing boat. It has a stealth design, is able to seal itself against nuclear and biological hazards, and its primary armament is Exocet ship-to-ship missiles and surface-to-air missiles. What particular enemies, I wondered, was the navy planning to fight.

The manufacturers surely didn’t offer any bribes to secure the sale, so I guess that the illegal fishermen are better armed than I gave them credit for… 😉


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