Landowners win illegal tax implementation case in greater Lydenburg area

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Farmers in the Lydenburg area recently scored a major hit against Thaba Chweu Local Municipality (TCLM) when they won a case against excessive property taxes that the council had implemented.

According to Eric Johnson, the chairperson of the Thaba Chweu Rural Forum (TCRF), their 170 members are elated that the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) after a legal fight of more than 14 years,found that the municipality’s implementation of taxes on agricultural land, was illegal.

This case, which was earlier served before the Mpumalanga High Court (MHC) and in the farmers objected to unfair implementation of property tax for agricultural land by TCLM, started in 2009.

The MHC found that the implementation of the taxes by the council was indeed unlawful.
However, the invalid conduct was not set aside due to the court’s view of the delay by the appellants (TCRF) to institute proceeding against the municipality.

In its judgment, the SCA said the municipality had failed to clearly implement the letter of the law and flouted the principle of legality and sought to profit from amounts unlawfully levied.

“Regulations of the Rates Act says that the effective rate applicable to farms could not exceed 25% of the rate applicable to residential properties.

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