People & News

Property Rates bill criticism - from farmers

Four agricultural organisations told Parliament's Provincial and Local Government committee hearings that agricultural land could lose up to 40% of its value. Local farmers would also be rendered less competitive than farmers from SA's main trading partners, who enjoyed substantial state assistance rather than increased taxation. There were also complaints that farmers would be required to pay municipal rates to local authorities when they in fact did not enjoy access to any municipal services.

The KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union told the committee that rating of agricultural land was effectively a land tax. When this tax was based on the value of land, investment returns were adversely affected, which lowered incentives to invest in improvements. AgriSA warned against the implementation of rates by municipalities without considering the farmers' ability to pay.

Full report in Business Day

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