Annual rates shock will cost millions, and many are sure to lose their jobs

We have been living on a smallholding of four hectares on the R340 for 20 years. We’ve just received our annual rates bill from Bitou Municipality - and our rates have gone up by 200%.
I went to the municipality and asked what was happening. They said that we were now zoned as ‘single residential’ - the same as all private houses in Plett!
I told them that we received no water, no sewage collection and no electricity, and that our access roads were provincial, not municipal. They said that this was the law.
All of us living on smallholdings around Bitou must now pay to fund the people of Plettenberg Bay with:
• Maintenance of the water supply pipes of Plett, as well as upgrading of the purification works and additional water storage.
• The upgrading of sewer lines in Plett as well as that of the sewerage works.
• New electrical cables, substations, and maintenance of the system in town.
None of these will be used by the owners of smallholdings, who have to provide their own services and pay for them out of their own pockets.
I cannot understand why we have to fund the residents, business, and commercial properties in Plett. Surely this is in conflict with our constitution?
There used to be a rural zoning called ‘rural lifestyle’, but that has now been dumped. Why? Many people will lose their jobs because of this.
Paul Scheepers, Plett
(We hope to find out more in this regard from Bitou’s Treasury department in time for enlightening feedback in a near future edition. - Eds.)