South Africa

Businessman’s account nightmare with the City of Tshwane

City and businessman tussle

An established businessman in Pretoria is seeing red over the City of Tshwane’s handling of his account.

Marion Kavallineas said the problems started in 2019, when they were first heavily fined for nonpermitted land use.

This was after ward councillor Siobhan Muller allegedly threatened them with nonconsent use in a local newspaper article about noise complaints in the area.

“We were never issued any notices about the nonpermitted land use,” he said.

Random fines

Kavallineas said differential rates and random fines followed.

In 2019, he received a notice of nonpayment, another random penalty for miscellaneous charges and were again fined for nonpermitted land use following ongoing fluctuating rates for properties.

In the same year, one of the tenants signed a summons for Kavallineas’ father to appear in court on charges related to zoning.

He was later issued with a warrant of arrest and appeared in court on a criminal matter relating to nonconsent use.

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Kavallineas called a meeting in July 2019 with stakeholders, including the Tshwane Metro Police Department, the acting finance manager at the municipality and then mayor Randall William to sort out his account.

The following month Kavallineas received a no-contravention certificate regarding the nonpermitted land use and was told it had just been a miscommunication.

But the differential rates continued.

An amount of R167 000 was credited for nonconsent rates.

Bill reached R4 million

“In October, Varsity Bakery was billed R675 000 for electricity use and received another court order and an additional hefty electricity bill, bringing the total to R766 000.

“They again credited R374 000 to the Java Centre account for nonconsent use rates in July 2021. Suddenly that October, they were billed R1.2 million for the Varsity Bakery property,” he said.

By April last year, the Java Centre’s electricity bill had reached R4 million.

That October, a community outreach in collaboration with the local police and business stakeholders was hosted at the Java Centre, also known as The Strip.

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This year, they have been issued with two court orders. Kavallineas said he reached out to Muller who didn’t respond.

“She instead promoted a Carte Blanche episode about The Strip on her social media platforms, followed by a revived petition to shut down The Strip,” he said.

Muller said she had repeatedly tried to help Kavallineas.

City spokesperson Selby Bokaba said the dispute was addressed and awaits an appeal meeting.