It’s hard to ignore Joburg’s distinct air of neglect: its litter-encrusted streets, the thousands of nonfunctioning streetlights, the cracked roads that ooze water, the trenches gouged out by various city departments for projects that are never properly completed, and the ubiquitous potholes.

So it’s no surprise that the metro’s latest general valuation roll has set off a firestorm of complaints from its residents, with the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse accusing the city of “steamrollering” ahead with “unreasonable” property valuations — an average increase of 37% since 2018, by its estimate...

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