CRPD/C/23/D/73/2019 1.2 On 12 November 2019, the Special Rapporteur on communications under the Optional Protocol, acting on behalf of the Committee, decided to register the communication without transmitting it to the State party for observations. A. Summary of the information and arguments submitted by the party Facts as submitted by the author 2.1 The author has multiple permanent medical disabilities and chronic conditions, in connection with which he has received modest monthly payments from a permanent disability insurance claim. He is the sole inhabitant of a flat that he co-owns with his brother under sectional title. Starting in 2008, he has filed annual applications with the City of Cape Town for rebates on the municipal taxes payable over the ownership of the flat under the rates rebate programme for disabled persons and senior citizens. The author states that such rebates are supposed to be made available to persons with disabilities and senior citizens with low to moderate incomes because municipal property taxes “far exceed any reasonable cost” of municipal services and effectively amount to wealth redistribution. 2.2 The City of Cape Town denied the author’s applications covering the period 2008– 2013 on 22 March 2011 and 23 April 2013, and rejected his appeals on 30 April 2012 and 23 May 2013, including on the ground that his income was too high. According to the author, the City had falsely and without any reason classified the insurance payments as income. He states that the definition of “gross monthly household income” in the City’s Rates Policy allows the City to define any receipt of capital as income and includes categories beyond ordinary definitions of income, contrary to national government norms and practices. He adds that the South African Revenue Service does not regard payments from a disability insurance claim as income and that South African law distinguishes between receipts of a capital nature and those of a revenue nature. The author’s actual income would have rendered him eligible for the full, or almost the full, tax rebate rate. The author adds that for the years 2014–2018, his applications have not yet been finalized, owing to what he describes as the City of Cape Town’s unjustified demands and refusals to properly answer correspondence and to explain its policies. 2.3 The author adds that the City of Cape Town has misapplied the Rates Policy also in the sense that it considered the income of the other co-owner of the flat, even though the Rates Policy prescribes the aggregation of all co-owners’ incomes only if the applicant is not a natural person. 2.4 The author claims that he has exhausted all available domestic remedies. He states that his complaints and appeals to the City of Cape Town’s senior echelons – including the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor, the Speaker, the Director of Revenue, the City Manager, the Director of Legal Services, the City Ombudsman and the ward councillors – have either been “brushed aside” or ignored. The author suspects that his applications were denied because such was the Deputy Mayor’s wish, irrespective of the law. The author had a personal meeting with city officials, during which he was asked to submit a “motivation” for his objection to the qualification of disability insurance payments as income, even though, according to the author, he should not have to substantiate a request for a correct application of the law, and the motivation that he submitted was not properly considered. He was subsequently requested to provide evidence of expenditures even though that was irrelevant. He disputes the adequacy of the City of Cape Town’s response to the email he sent in response to the decision of 30 April 2012. He had raised some of the decision’s deficiencies, but the City responded only that the decision was regarded as “functus officio” and that he had thus exhausted internal remedies. He submits that the City of Cape Town has thus failed to provide just and accountable government. 2.5 Moreover, from December 2013 onwards, the author has brought claims of violations of the Convention to the South African Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Public Protector, the Western Cape provincial government, the office of the Presidency and other government departments. The author comments that these authorities have been lacking in response and that where they did reply, the replies were factually inaccurate, misleading and lacking in remedial actions and substantiation of the City’s decision-making. 2

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