South Africa

42,000 residents object to inflated Joburg property rates


The City of Johannesburg (CoJ) has received over 42,000 objections to its new property rates as the value of properties has been inaccurately assessed, resulting in substantial rate increases for property owners.

The city explained that it levies its current property rates on the market value of a property determined in July 2022, with the period for objections to the new valuations ending on 5 May.

Properties are grouped into categories and rated according to their values in the city’s General Valuations Roll (GVR) which are based on the size of the property and the improvements on the building. 

The city received 42,053 objections, representing 4,5% of the GVR, which inspected 934,652 properties.  Of the objections lodged, the city has finalised 13,000 objections. It intends to finalise the rest by 30 September 2023.

Residential properties make up the largest proportion of these objections, with over 30,000 complaints from households. 

Property TypeNumber objections
Non-residential/non-business properties601
Business and Commercial type properties9,454
Residential properties30,362
Vacant land1,636
Source: City of Johannesburg

The city has come in for sharp criticism, with the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) saying they have inaccurately assessed the value of properties and disregarded objections. 

OUTA believes its method contradicts what the city says because it merely does a desktop analysis of areas within the City and not the individual properties.

The city pools properties together and gives what OUTA calls a ‘guesstimate’ of individual property values, inflating the value and leaving the property owner to prove them wrong at the owner’s expense. 

The method applied is also not sustainable as rate increases are significantly above inflation and the increase in property value. The organisation warned that this might force residents to semigrate out of Johannesburg.

A recent Lightstone property indices report in April 2023 shows that property value has compounded annually at 8.8% within Johannesburg. However, property rates have compounded at 17%. 

From initial responses to OUTA’s survey, residents in Johannesburg have seen their property value increase by 45% on average following the city’s latest property inspections.

OUTA said municipalities need to review their valuation methods before ratepayers decide to leave in search of better-run areas.

*OUTA’s survey will run until the end of August 2023.


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