I am a Metro resident and ratepayer and, as such, have total empathy with the anger and frustration felt by the residents intent on withholding rates. Have a look at the two attached judgments; both the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court have found AGAINST rates boycotters.
Plus, in all the cases I know of, not much has changed (if anything). The boycott will not hit where any official will hurt. Action is absolutely necessary, but I would strongly caution that a boycott will not only be illegal, but ineffective.
See: NMBMM Rates Dispute – Take Action HERE for more clarity on the above.
Editor – The two attached judgements refer to:
- THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEAL OF SOUTH AFRICA JUDGMENT. Case no: 173/11. In the matter between: OLGA RADEMAN (Appellant) and MOQHAKA MUNICIPALITY (First Respondent), M A MOKGOSI (Second Respondent), M V DUMA (Third Respondent) JIMMY MASWANGANYI (Fourth Respondent) and RUDOLPH MEYER (Fifth Respondent).
- CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF SOUTH AFRICA. Case CCT 41/12,  ZACC 11. In the matter between: OLGA RADEMAN (Appellant) and MOQHAKA MUNICIPALITY (First Respondent), M A MOKGOSI (Second Respondent), M V DUMA (Third Respondent) JIMMY MASWANGANYI (Fourth Respondent) and RUDOLPH MEYER (Fifth Respondent). Heard on 5 February 2013 and edcided on 26 April 2013.
Both deal with the powers of a municipality to discontinue supply of electricity to defaulters who refuse to pay rates and taxes and both found that the municipality in question was justified in disconnecting appellant’s electricity supply without a court order.
Essentially what happened was the following:
- On 17 August 2009, the municipality disconnected the electricity supply to the appellant (Olga Rademan) because of her failure to pay. This was done without any court order. The appellant successfully launched an urgent for the restoration of her electricity supply which was granted by the magistrates’ court, Kroonstad. The appeal against this order by the first respondent to the Free State High Court, Bloemfontein was successful. The appeal to the appeal court was with the leave of the high court.
- Olga Rademan together with other residents of the municipality, are members of the Moqhaka Ratepayers and Residents Association. This is an organisation which comprised residents who claimed to be unhappy with the municipal services rendered by the municipality. As a means of getting the respondent to attend to their various complaints, which included alleged poor service delivery, they decided to withhold payments of their rates and taxes. It is not clear from the papers when they stopped their payments. However, they continued to pay for their other municipal services like water and sanitation, electricity and refuse removal. Notwithstanding various demands for payment, the appellant persisted in her refusal to pay taxes and levies. Inevitably, this impasse culminated in the first respondent discontinuing any further supply of electricity to her. Hence this case.
- The above appeal was dismissed with costs.
- Olga Rademan then took the case to the Constitutional Court asking for leave to appeal against the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision.
- The constitutional Court decreed thus; “There is, on the case before us, no constitutional challenge to the termination of municipal services, including electricity, for non-payment of rates in accordance with the Systems Act and the municipal by-laws.36 Section 21(5) of the ERA is simply not applicable here.”
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