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Con Court rules in favour of property owners – historical debt is just that, history

David beaths Goliath

In March of this year we reported on a David-and-Goliath battle, the so-called historical debt saga between the municipalities of Tshwane and Ekurhuleni and their clients.

In November 2016 the North Gauteng High Court held that these municipalities have been unlawful in their conduct and declared that it is constitutionally invalid for these municipalities to hold the new owner of a property liable for the previous owner’s municipal debts on that property – a ruling that was challenged by the affected municipalities. Read more

Today the Constitutional Court upheld the findings of Novemeber 2016 in its ruling that new homeowners cannot be held responsible for historical debt accumulated by previous owners.

As a homeowner who might have made payment for historical debt that is not yours prior to this ruling, you might be asking “what about my money?”

Peter Livanos, MD of Municipal Debt Specialist, who was one of the first people to approach the courts to enforce the public’s rights for the correct interpretation of Section 118 of the Municipal Systems Act, previously said the following on this matter: “We have no doubt that after the Con Court hands down its judgment, all municipalities will be obliged to refund the public.”


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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