Ladies and Gentleman,
I have called this media briefing to inform you about the changes I have decided to make to the Gauteng Executive Council as well as other governance matters in Gauteng.
Changes to the Executive Council
You would recall that the current Member of the Executive Council (MEC) responsible for the Department of Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Mr Paul Mashatile, was elected to be the Treasurer General at the elective conference of the ruling party in December 2017. This is a full-time position and requires him to vacate his current position in government.
I have decided to appoint Dikgang “Uhuru” Moiloa as a Member of the Executive Council responsible for Human Settlements and COGTA. Mr Moiloa is currently the Deputy Speaker of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature. He joined the Gauteng Legislature 1999. Uhuru Moiloa is a long serving member of the ANC who has a wide range of political and governance experience which will enable him to hit the ground running in this important work. The swearing in of MEC Moiloa will take place on Friday the 16th March 2018. (Please find his full profile attached).
Illegal Land Invasion
I have taken note of the current spate of orchestrated illegal land invasion currently taking place in different parts of the Province. The police across the Province are on the alert. Let me state this from the outset, that land invasion is a breach of the law. The Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act of 1998 prohibits land invasion, thus making it a criminal act.
Those who engage in land invasion must be dealt with by Law Enforcement Agencies. As I have said before, there are many factors behind land invasion, these include financial gains made by those who sell land illegally as well as politically motivated land invasion. We will not allow illegal occupation of land in this province. As I said in the State of the Province we need a fresh approach to resolving the land question. Following our engagements with communities, we know that people have been making calls for land to be made available so that they can build their own houses and embark on economic activities.
Working with municipalities, national government and state-owned enterprises, we will ensure that well-allocated land in key economic centres is to be redistributed in the public interest to further establish post-apartheid cities. This requires that we work together as political parties, civil society and business to redress historical injustices.
We will also ensure that the following measures are put in place
1. Encourage all municipalities, provincial departments, and property owners to have standing court interdicts in order to prevent illegal land invasion.
2. Ensure that Law Enforcement Agencies act promptly where land invasions are reported.
3. Ensure that those who prey on the vulnerable by selling land unlawfully are arrested and prosecuted.
Complaints about Property rates hikes
On Friday, 09 March, I convened a meeting with the Executive Mayor for the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Herman Mashaba, to discuss concerns raised by the residents of Johannesburg in relation to the General Valuation Roll for 2018.
I had been inundated with complaints raised by business people and ratepayers in the City of Johannesburg regarding over-valuation and under-valuation of their properties. Some of the valuations which have been identified as problematic have experienced considerable increases, in some cases by over 100%.
During the meeting, the City confirmed that the current model used to evaluate properties had errors and the City had received 4500 objections already. A 8000 properties were identified by the City as having been erroneously valuated. The scale and impact of the erroneous valuations is not yet known. This might be the tip of the iceberg because the intervention has focused on only 1% of more than 800 000 registered properties in Johannesburg.
Having engaged with the City, I acknowledge that the deep concerns expressed by the residents of Johannesburg over the valuations of their properties in terms of the 2018 General Valuation Roll are not unfounded. I have requested the City to work with the Provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) to speedily resolve the concerns of the residents.
The Provincial Department of COGTA is mandated to oversee and monitor the implementation of Municipal Property Rates Act.
I encourage Ratepayers to check the values of their properties in City's 2018 General Valuation Roll. If they are not satisfied with the value of their processes they must use the current objection processes to object.
Where there are disputes on the outcomes of the objection process, residents will have an opportunity to appeal their valuations through an independent Valuation Appeal Board that can set up by the MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
I will continue to engage the City and the residents of Johannesburg to ensure a fair outcome for residents.