Matsapha Town Council has drafted new User fees and Bylaw charges for stakeholders proposed to be put in place by 2023. In line with being a participatory government, Matsapha has opened the drafted User fees and Bylaw Charges to be reviewed by stakeholders. The review was opened to the public from the 12th November to 11th December 2020.
As part of the review Council further hosted three (3) stakeholder engagement meetings on Monday 30th November 2020 and Tuesday 1st November 2020. On the first day, two meetings were held targeting commercial stakeholders and the last meeting targeted residential stakeholders. The meetings, graced by the presence of Council Chairperson Alice Russo and her Councillors, were held at Esibayeni Lodge in Matsapha. Both Council Meetings were a success as stakeholders availed themselves, and on top of that they shared valuable inputs during discussions. Some issues that were raised included concerns over fees that stakeholders noted are escalating, and needed Council to consider reviewing them, considering the COVID-19 second wave that is threatening to befall the nation.
Council Executive Committee was able to shed some light over the complaints made by the stakeholders. The Town Clerk, Lucky Sukati said that Council noted the inputs and it will meet with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and come up with resolutions as per the submissions made. However, Sukati did highlight that Government will hopefully be considerate and has been considerate with rates for the ratepayers as it is alive to the pandemic.
Council welcomed the inputs made by the stakeholders and will still be welcoming more inputs from ratepayers until the 11th December 2020. This platform has been made available for those that may have missed the meetings or still need time to read through the proposed fees before submitting accurately.
The User fees are available in Matsapha Civic Centre for review and/or on Council website www.matsapha.co.sz. Stakeholders can share their submission by visiting the Civic Centre on working days, use suggestion boxes allocated in high activity places in town and/or send via Email on email@example.com.
URBAN GOVERNMENT ACT, 1969 & PUTTING IN PLACE BYLAWS
Stipulated in the Urban Government Act, 1969, Section 57 Council may charge for any service or facility provided by it or for any licence or permit issued by it. The fees can be regulated by Bylaws except where specific provision is made respect of any fee in this or any other law. Council may also frame tariffs of charges for special facilities supplied or services or work rendered in connection with any of its powers to individual persons.
User fees are fees and charges levied by Council as a necessary condition to gain access to a particular service or facility. These cannot be likened to rates as rates are property tax of rateable value set annually by Council as stipulated by the Rating Act, 1995.
Before the charges can be put in place Council needs to follow certain procedures as outlined in the Urban Government Act, 1969 – Section 79. The steps are as follows:
- Publish in the Gazette and at least one newspaper a notice of its intention to make a Bylaw and by such notice invite representations in writing.
- Cause a copy of such notice and of the proposed Bylaw to be exhibited for a period of one month in a prominent place at or near the main entrance to the offices of the Council. The set dates for review were from 12th November – 11the December 2020.
- After the expiration of one month from the date on which the copy of the proposed Bylaw was first exhibited the Council shall consider any representations received and decide whether or not to proceed with making the Bylaw.
- When Council has decided to proceed it shall forward to the Minister
- (a) a copy of the proposed Bylaw;
- (b) a copy of any written representations from any person who objects to the making of the Bylaw together with the comments of the Council thereon, or where no representations have been received a statement to that effect signed by the Town Clerk.
- The Minister may approve, alter or reject any proposed Bylaw as he may think fit.
- Where the Minister approves, whether with or without alteration, a proposed byelaw, the Council shall make such Bylaw in accordance with the terms of such approval and not otherwise.