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Monday Aug 31, 2020

Sea Point residents threaten rates boycott

A number of Sea Point ratepayers have decided to embark on a rates boycott accusing the City of neglecting the area and delivering poor services.

Several small businesses have joined the boycott, withholding 50% of their property rates payments.

Residents under the banner of the Concerned Residents of Atlantic Seaboard, co-ordinated by Sea Point resident Paul Jacobson, started a petition accompanied by an incident report listing acts of violence against residents as well as other social ills.

Jacobson said some "high-profile" ratepayers in the area had joined the boycott: "Our residents are violated by the homeless in the area and if the City cared about them they would have provided support for them.

"The reason why we have embarked on this boycott is because we are saying that we cannot be paying so much for services that aren't rendered in our area. And now we have our property valuations pushed up and they have the audacity to give City officials a salary increase," Jacobson said.

The petition has garnered over 1 000 signatures from residents supporting the boycott, he said.

"It is regrettable that we have been compelled to withhold a portion of our rate payments to make ourselves heard. The City is not entitled to charge us a 'wealth tax' under the guise of rate levies," he said.

The decision by residents was made at a recent meeting held last month. In minutes of the meeting, which the Cape Argus has seen, they slam the City for its unwillingness and/or inability to stem the flow of homeless people, vagrants, aggressive begging, crime, illegal parking attendants on to the Atlantic Seaboard and its failure to enforce its own by-laws in relation to public nuisance, dumping and litter.

The residents decided that from August that they would embark on a partial rates boycott. According to them, the withholding of 50% of their rates will endure for as long as the list of failures and breaches of duty on the part of the City continued.

Jacobson said: "We are calling for various other communities facing this same problem to do the same so that we can mobilise together and make our cause stronger."

Ratepayer associations of the area did not support the boycott

Green Point Ratepayers Association chairperson Jenny Mcqueen said: "We do not support this because we believe that there are other avenues to have concerns raised but this is illegal which we have informed them about."

Ward councillor Nicola Jowell said they have been inundated with emails from residents indicating their intent to take part in a partial rates boycott: "The concerns and sentiment of the letters are of course taken on board and are of concern.

"While we absolutely acknowledge that there are areas of considerable concern, references to the suburb of Sea Point as uninhabitable and a slum are factually incorrect.

"The majority of residents do further understand the legal framework and situation that the City currently faces and the significant curtailments placed on it by the courts," she said.

Cape Argus
By Marvin Charles


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