‘Last HLB real estate expertise carried out 20 years ago’

hwange local council

THE Hwange Local Board (HLB) may have lost a lot of revenue over the past two decades due to the lack of assessment rolls to enable billing of its properties in the mining town.

Assessment rolls are lists of properties located within the boundaries of a specific territorial community established for billing and taxation purposes.

Under the Town Councils Act, all properties are taxable unless an application is made and approved by the council.

According to the latest HLB newsletter, City Clerk Ndumiso Mdlalose said the local authority had written to the local government department asking for permission to carry out a general valuation roll of its properties.

Mdlalose said HLB could not determine the market value of some of its properties after it last performed the assessment roll exercise 20 years ago.

“Essentially, if the council does not proceed with the assessment roll, it will continue to levy ratepayers outside the precepts of the law,” Mdlalose said. An assessment roll must be updated every 10 years.

However, the period may be extended for an additional five years subject to ministerial agreement by a regulatory text.

“The General Assessment Roll will capture newly constructed properties, improvements and subdivisions made over the past two decades. New suburbs and new buildings do not have market ratings at the moment,” Mdlalose said.

Hwange has a dual administration where some areas fall under the HLB and the mining companies. HLB administers the suburbs of Empumalanga, Chibondo and Baobab while other areas are under mining companies.

In her previous reports, Auditor General Midlred Chiri noted that several local authorities were not charging for properties under their jurisdiction due to lack of assessment rolls, thereby losing potential revenue.

Other local authorities were reported to operate without asset management policies, accounting procedures manuals and risk management policies.

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