Ratepayers have legal rights to stop paying taxes

New Consumer Protection Act gives consumers the right not to pay for services or goods not properly delivered

Mulder: Ratepayers shouldn’t pay taxes if there’s no service from municipalities in return:

Angry_RatepayerFixingPotholes_Randburg_20082011-04-16  Pretoria – Ratepayers should be not have to pay taxes – or pay reduced taxes – if municipalities do not deliver services in return, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said on Saturday.

Picture: This irate Randburg ratepayer in 2008 set to and fixed some very dangerous potholes in front of his property himself because cars and trucks crashed there regularly, yet ANC-fatcat municipal officials were just ignoring such potholes for months on end. However ratepayers now can fire incompetent and fraudulent municipal officials – legally….

Speaking at the launch of the party’s election manifesto in Centurion, Mulder said that the new  Consumer Protection Act (CPA) gave consumers the right not to pay or to pay less for services or goods not properly delivered.”We want to push this principle that if I pay taxes I must get services. Why must I pay if I don’t get something back?”He said the FF Plus would be encouraging people to use the CPA to have their taxes reduced if they did not get the requisite standard of service. He said most problems South Africans complained about were problems of local government. He said the current policy of government to merge local government entities was taking local government away from the people.”Mega cities do not work. In the Fr ee State you have five dorpies that are 100km apart. That does not work. Local government needs to be close to the people.” The FF Plus would, he said, ‘enter in coalitions at local government level, but never with the ANC.” Mr Mulder may express an unwillingness to enter into local-level political coalitions – however he himself meanwhile also serves as one of the few token Afrikaners in the Zuma cabinet: he is the country’s  deputy-Minister of Agriculture..

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Politics/Mulder-Ratepayers-shouldnt-pay-taxes-20110416

 Ratepayers can  already fire incompetent, fraudulent managers and withhold their taxes legally:

More than 120 ratepayers associations have already declared legal disputes with incompetent ANC-run councils through the National Taxpayers Union of SA: http://www.nbusa.org 

KRUGERSDORP HISTORIC BOER TOWN BECOMING A PUBLIC TOILET SA taxpayers gave R 571.8billion to the 2007/8 budget – and even more the following years. Increasingly, tax- and ratepayers demand to know exactly what those ANC-fat cats áre doing with their money except waste it on lavish luxury and expensive hatespeech court-cases: they are clearly not spending the taxpayers’ money on health care, water-purification, infrastructure improvements or municipal services. The country’s streets are potholed and trashed, the water supply is so dangerous it’s killing babies, wildlife, polluting food-crops and bankrupting farmers, the electricity network is collapsing…feral dog packs and outof-control rat populations kill hundreds of people with rabies, and the locally-produced food supply is rapidly running out.

  Black town residents riot – but ratepayers get together and use the law to kick out incompetent ANC-management: http://www.nbusa.org/?p=420#more-420

However, while the black township residents (the vast majority do not pay taxes or rates and many refuse to pay water- and electricity bills) mainly resort to outbursts of angry, helpless rage, in which they often attack the worst fat-cat ANC-councillors and go about torching and sabotaging and torching government-properties and power-stations, the more organised ratepayers are forming themselves into legal management-committees and declaring legal disputes so that they can start running things themselves.

Besides Mulder’s pointing out the advantages of the new  Consumer Protection Act, SA ratepayers already have another powerful tool in their arsenal, namely the Section 139c Administration Order  – which can grant ratepayer-assocations the right to stop paying their taxes and rates directly  into the accounts of fraudulent, incompetent municipalities. Ratepayer assocations placed under Section 139c administration orders can legally set up Trust accounts to administrate their own financial affairs; they can legally take over the municipal offices and appoint their own municipal-services. 

There was only one problem: until a ground-breaking High Court ruling in Port Elizabeth in February 2010 however, they were still stuck with one major problem: up to that point,  the ratepayers associations who declared UDI were still unable to fire their looting, incompetent ANC-fatcats who were destroying their infrastructures and polluting their drinking water. 

 Ratepayers legally granted the right to fire their incompetent, fraudulent municipal officers:

PORT ELIZABETH COURT RULING VICTORY FOR KIRKWOOD RATEPAYERS FIRED THEIR ANC MANAGER LEGALLY

By the end of 2010, more than  120 ratepayers associations countrywide had already declared legal disputes with their local councils–  but they could not fire the incompetent officials eating up their taxes with lavish salaries until a groundbreaking February 2010 High Court ruling in Port Elizabeth in favour of four taxpayers in the Kirkwood Ratepayers Association gave them that legal right.      http://www.nbusa.org/?p=420#more-420

These four Kirkwood Port Elizabeth ratepayers  took legal action to redress the appalling local service delivery in their Indian-ocean harbour city. Clean water is not only important to the local residents – but also to international shipping: Port Elizabeth is an important hub along the African east coast where many ships stop in to bunker up with fresh drinking-water.

The Kirkwood ratepayers’ association * was granted an application in the Port Elizabeth High Court on February 18 2010 which allows it to fire its local municipal manager Adv Siphiwe Clifford Sohena – who had earlier been found to be incompetent during a discliplinary committee hearing – but who could not be fired legally. They PORT ELIZABETH COURT RULING VICTORY KIRKWOOD DOCUMENTobtained the court ruling against the Sunday River Valley Municipality; its municipal manager Adv. Siphiwe Clifford Sohena, and also the MEC for “Local Government and Traditional Affairs”. The court granted their application that ‘Sohena’s services be terminated with immediate effect. “ Sohena also was barred from entering the municipal offices and/or ‘in any way interfere in the affairs of the administration of the municipality’. Sohena was also ordered to pay the cost of the court application.

The Port Elizabeth ruling got the already growing Section139c legal ratepayers’ revolt  into high gear: it was a landmark ruling for all SA ratepayers according to the National Taxpayers Union. They said that Sohena’s role at the Sunday River Valley Municipality had been crucial as he had been placed in charge after the municipality was partly placed under the so-called Section 139c Administration Order concerning its financial and personnel matters. “This had left in place this municipal manager (Sohena) although he had been thoroughly discredited by a disciplinary committee.”

The most crucial detail is however that the ratepayers associations have to stand together to take this decision – and not be deterred by the often very violent and obtuse intimidation-tactics which are routinely used by ANC-government officials countrywide against their own ratepayers to terrify them into compliance.

Madibeng ratepayers in the Hartbeespoort/Brits region north of Pretoria are suffering very similar problems to those in Port Elizabeth. They too, are stradling a crucial clean-water supply which now has become grossly polluted due to their incompetent, corrupt ANC-managements. There has also been massive rioting throughout this entire region for the past few years because of the increasingly filthy and dangerous drinking-water now coming from the Hartbeespoort dam. Yet, as the editor of the local MadibengPulse newspaper pointed out,  “redress for those ratepayers representing the first world component in South Africa was through the law-courts.” 

He noted that the ANC-run municipalities were massively looting the ratepayers’ coffers countrywide; and that this resulted in widespread rioting from “the third-world component resorting to toy-toying, blockading roads, burning tyres, breaking windows. ‘There is some understanding for these more robust methods of the third-world component because our problems are all the same: we are up against selfish, incompetent and corrupt ANC-officials who view democracy as a licence to loot the public coffers.’

He noted that after the ground-breaking Port Elizabeth High Court ruling on Feb 18 2010, all the country’s ratepayers now can ‘legally get rid of corrupt and incompetent officials in their own municipalities in exactly the same way.’   Ratepayers can fire incompetent municipal officers” – legal ruling

Up to that point, the ratepayers’ revolt through the National Taxpayers Union had already been gathering speed however. There were some humorous incidents during these revolts, such as the Louis Trichard ratepayers association members holding a very solumn funeral procession through its main streets with a coffin and a hearse, declaring the ‘death of   South African legal ratepayers’ revolt is growing fast

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 http://www.nbusa.org/?p=420#more-420

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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