FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The mission of the RHSRA is:
To develop and sustain Richmond Hill to a friendly, safe, clean and overall attractive living space for all property owners and residents in the area.
Nurture the unique historical ambience and diversity of Richmond Hill as a meeting place of residents, business people, intellectuals, professionals and visitors to the area.
Foster cooperation between all, i.e. property owners, residents, business, other stakeholders and the authorities.
Promote a commercially attractive, artistically inspirational and family-friendly environment.
+ What is a SRA?
+ Why Establish a SRA?
+ Who is managing the SRA?
+ How much are membership fees / annual subscription?
+ How do I contact the SRA offices or the volunteers involved in the SRA?
+ What happens to the collected SRA rates?
+ How does the SRA resolve “additional rates” arrears?
+ Where are the RHSRA Boundaries?
+ I objected to the concept of the SRA from the very outset, why do I have to pay the levy?
+ Why must I register to be a member of the RHSRA NPC if I’m already paying the SRA levy?
+ How can I unsubscribe from the SRA so that I am no longer billed an SRA fee?
+ I can see no benefit in paying the SRA separately for services which I already pay for under other items in my monthly municipal account
What is a SRA?
A Special Rating Area is a geographical area within the jurisdiction of the Municipality (in this case the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality), determined by the Municipality Council in terms of Section 22 of the Municipal Property Rates Act (Act 6 of 2004) as an area within which an additional rates amount shall be levied by the Municipality and paid over to the community-owned Non Profit Company for the sole use of improving aspects of service delivery within that geographic area.
A SRA shall at all times be an independent company and shall have no authority to act as an agent of the Municipality or bind the Municipality in any way.
Why establish a SRA?
According to the Constitution of South Africa, (Act 108/1996, Sections 152 and 153), the objective of a local authority is to provide all its residents with certain basic services such as water, electricity, sanitation, refuse removal, etc. up to an acceptable standard.
For communities who wish to enjoy municipal services of a higher standard, a SRA provides the local community with the option of paying for this higher standard, which should be affordable and sustainable.
In short, the RHRA (Richmond Hill Residents Association) the RHSCF (Richmond Hill Sector Crime Forum) were the informal versions of the SRA. The RHRA and the RHSCF were operating from donations of the community, whereas the SRA is operated from rates collected.
The RHRA ceased to exist when the SRA came into being.
The Sector Crime Forum remains as subsidiary of the SRA, a link between SRA and Humewood Community Policing Forum and also the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Who is managing the SRA?
The SRA is a Non Profit Company managed by a board elected by its members, and operated by a management team appointed by the Board. Property owners must apply for Non Profit Company membership to allow them to participate in the SRA’s affairs.
The Municipality is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the company, but exercises financial oversight and legal compliance. Directors and Management do not receive any remuneration for services rendered.
The Board has, in line with the budget submitted to the Municipality, decided to employ three patrollers, an office manager and street cleaners as and when needed.
The daily operations of the SRA is conducted by a group of volunteers, referred to as the management team. The size of this group may vary but is normally between 12 and 18 individuals volunteering their time, skills and knowledge contributing to the needs of the SRA.
All Richmond Hill Rate Payers are eligible to become members of the Richmond Hill SRA. Rate payers are invited to attend meetings (including Community meetings, Community Gatherings and the AGM) and most importantly, vote on the items tabled at the AGM.
ALL rate payers and residents may attend these meetings, but only confirmed members will be eligible to vote at SRA meetings. Everyone is allowed to vote at community meetings and gatherings.
How much are membership fees / annual subscription?
There are no membership fees or annual subscription. The additional rates apportioned to each property owner is the only fee levied against members.
To apply for membership you need to fill in the membership application form and submit supporting documentation. Supporting documentation are: Copy of your latest Rates Account (not older than 2 months as proof of ownership) and a copy of your Passport or ID document.
Application forms can be downloaded from the Downloads section of this website, be requested via email or be obtained from the SRA office.
For personal collection from the SRA office please phone 061 427 4631 between 08:00 and 12:00 during weekdays to make an appointment.
The office is situated at 13 Stanley Street. It is open weekdays from 09:00 to 13:00 Mon-Fri but an appointment must be made to ensure that someone is available to see you.
Unfortunately, due to the vast number of tasks and commitments to the community, no walk-in business can be accommodated.
How do I contact the SRA offices or the volunteers involved in the SRA?
Physical Address: 15 Stanley Street, Richmond Hill
* By appointment only
Office Phone: 061 427 6431
Crime Line: 084 953 5561
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/RHSRA.
Please use the facebook page to voice your opinion on anything SRA related.
Richmond Hillers are advised that the first call in an emergency must always be to the police (SAPS) 10111.
You can also join the WhatsApp group (1ARH) to report suspicious activity in your immediate vicinity. This service is in real time contact with our SRA patrollers who can attend to your problem immediately. Only two rules: 1. You must spend at least 8 hours per day in Richmond Hill (live or work) and 2. No discussions or debates are allowed. Text your name and address to 0822280827 for inclusion in the group.
Personal contact information of individuals involved in the SRA are not disclosed. Messages to any of these individuals can be sent via the SRA contact resources.
What happens to the collected SRA rates?
The Richmond Hill SRA rates are ring-fenced to be ploughed back exclusively into the Richmond Hill SRA. The money collected from property owners is used to achieve community goals set out to uplift and improve the community.
The goals are described in the business plan and revised every 5 years in consultation with the community (primarily property owners). Typically, these would be services dealing with additional public safety measures (including street patrols), street cleaning services, maintenance of infrastructure, upgrading of the environment, social services, etc.
The Special Rate is determined by the Municipality on an annual basis, taking into account the property database, property value adjustments and the annual budget submitted by the SRA Board to the Municipality.
The SRA manages its own finances and appoints its own auditors. The audited financial statements form part of the Municipality’s consolidated accounts, which are reviewed by the Auditor-General. The audited financials are made available to the community and must be approved by the members of the Richmond Hill SRA at the AGM before implementation.
Monthly financial reports are submitted to the Municipality to monitor that the expenditure is incurred according to the SRA’s approved budget. The SRA sets its budget according to input from its members as per the approved five-year business plan.
The municipality does not get involved in this process. Every year the SRA Board has to submit a detailed annual budget to the Municipality by 31 January. This proposed budget may not deviate materially from the approved 5 year business plan. If there is a material deviation, an application in terms of Section 11 of the SRA by-law is required.
During this process the Municipality evaluates the proposed budget for affordability and sustainability.
How does the SRA resolve “additional rates” arrears?
The municipality is responsible for rates in arrears.
Defaulters are subject to the municipality’s credit control and debt collection policies. As such, water and electricity services can be suspended or rates clearance certificates withheld.
In addition, the Municipality retains 5% of the additional rates as contingency fund to cover expenses whilst payments are disputed.
Where are the RHSRA Boundaries?
Beginning at the intersection of Westbourne and Albany Roads, the boundary follows Albany Road towards Govan Mbeki Avenue.
It turns South into St Patrick’s Street and goes South following the mid-block boundary between St Patrick’s Street and Govan Mbeki Avenue.
From the end of St Patrick’s Street it follows the cadastral boundaries through to the intersection of Evatt Street and Hartman Road.
It turns West into Hartman Road left into Hartman Street and follows the street to the end of Hartman Street.
From here it follows the cadastral boundaries to meet Russell Road. In Russell Road the boundary turns West and follows Russell Road to the intersection with Westbourne Road.
From here the boundary follows Westbourne Road to the intersection with Bingley Street from where it follow midblock boundaries between Westbourne and Cape Roads in a Westerly direction to the Albany Road the starting point.
I objected to the concept of the SRA from the very outset, why do I have to pay the levy?
We live in a democracy and that the will of the majority sways. This principle is enshrined in the Constitution and is upheld at every turn. In the forming of the Richmond Hill SRA, there was a vote by all property owners as to whether it should be set up or not. This was preceded by a number of meetings, flyers, adverts, etc, advising residents and property owners of the concept and their rights within it.
The SRA concept falls under the Municipal Systems Act and, as such, is guided by an Act of Parliament, which has a large number of clauses and conditions as part of it. You may disagree with the Act or the concept, but that must taken up with government to get them to change the law.
Why must I register to be a member of the RHSRA NPC if I’m already paying the SRA levy?
The Act stipulates that the payment is automatic on all property owners within the defined area, but that membership is limited to those that apply for it. The reason for this membership application process is that people need to properly identify themselves and prove who they are and that they are up to date with their municipal payments in order to qualify. In applying for membership, there is a cut-off date, because the paperwork has to be submitted to the municipality for verification.
How can I unsubscribe from the SRA so that I am no longer billed an SRA fee?
The majority of the property owners voted in favour of the SRA and thus it came into being. Unfortunately for those who voted against it, the majority rules and the concept was put into practice. There is, therefore, no way of opting out of the concept.
I can see no benefit in paying the SRA separately for services which I already pay for under other items in my monthly municipal account.
The SRA is not duplicating services – the company is providing those services that the municipality is not and only topping up where the municipality is partially providing services. The SRA’s drive and delivery is stimulating delivery from the municipality and, as they come up to speed, the SRA will transfer energies on to other aspects within the suburb. Any argument regarding lack of service delivery therefore needs to be raised with the municipality.