Ingonyama Trust: 'You can't charge rates without having evaluated the land'
It has emerged that the Ingonyama Trust - of whom Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini is the sole trustee - owes 23 municipalities about R302-million in outstanding rates.
According to Eyewitness News, trust chairperson Judge Jerome Ngwenya revealed this on Monday in a virtual meeting facilitated by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal.
UKZN academic and political analyst Lukhona Mnguni sat in that meeting. He joined Joanne Joseph on the Afternoon Drive to share his insights and detail the complexities surrounding the trust and its land.
You have a problem with the land under the Ingonyama Trust Board in this sense - when it was envisaged it wasn't necessarily part of the eThekwini municipality. This was subject of a Constitutional Court judgment in 2013 in actual fact wherein the municipality was now taking the Ingonyama Trust - a court case that started in 2009 and they wanted them to start paying those rates but one of the things that was key in that debate was: 'What piece of legislation do you use?'Lukhona Mnguni, Political analyst
The big question is whether the Ingonyama Trust-held land is rateable and the court found that in terms of the legislation that was there before the municipalities, that legislation exempted the Ingonyama Trust land to be rateable. This is what has created the complexities and eventually, now, that is why that money is so big because the municipality wants to rate that land dating back to 1996 and that is the subject of dispute.Lukhona Mnguni, Political analyst
However, even within the new legal dispensation, the problem is: 'How do you rate land that you have not evaluated?' Because while that Ingonyama Trust land is within the jurisdiction in terms of the boundaries of the municipality, it is not in the books of the municipality. It is not evaluated, which then means that you cannot rate it.Lukhona Mnguni, Political analyst
But the Ingonyama Trust Act itself provides for the possibility - in consultation. [It] can classify parts of the land as a township ... [but] once you do that, that land can then vest into the municipality.Lukhona Mnguni, Political analyst
The problem is there is no framework that has been built on how to classify certain parcels of land that are under the Ingonyama Trust within the jurisdiction of municipalities and then hand those parcels of land over to municipalities so that they can survey, evaluate them and revalue and then they can be able to pay rates but you can't effectively charge rates without having evaluated the land itself.Lukhona Mnguni, Political analyst
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