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Mbombela should implement tax exemptions fairly

All residents of the Mbombela Local Municipality (Mbombela/Nelspruit, Barberton, Hazyview, Kaapschehoop, Skukuza, White River) should be treated equally and fairly when it comes to being granted tax exemptions.

The Municipality indicated, in both the revenue-enhancement-strategy report and the risk-management report in February, that one of the biggest threats to the Municipality is failing to expand its tax base within its municipal borders.

And yet the latest adopted municipal property rates and taxes schedule for the 2023/24 financial year makes unequal provision for certain tax exemptions and discounts, which are payable to the Municipality on a monthly basis. It differs from area to area.

It means that discounts may vary from 0% to 100% depending on where the property is located.

It also means that the Municipality is not benefitting financially from thriving business enterprises that are located in rural areas, or on communal or state trust land.

On the other hand, the owners of farms and small holdings do not benefit at all from the Municipality’s service provisions, such as water supply or garbage disposal. And they are granted only a discount and not a full exemption.

After 29 years of democracy and with the redistribution of wealth through municipal frameworks, a balance should somehow be struck. Any increase in taxes should be divided equally across the Municipality.

If the Municipality wants to levy rates and taxes, it should also deliver the relevant services in exchange for it.

The residents of the ANC-controlled Mbombela Municipality deserve better than the poor service delivery they are currently receiving.

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