Valuation is not an exact science. The market value of a property can only be estimated and not precisely determined. A valuer is called on to exercise professional skill and expertise by expressing an opinion on the market value in monetary terms.

The market value of a property can only be estimated by a valuer.

Valuers do not function as arbitrators but as estimators of value. Valuers are called on to exercise an honest judgment and to be influenced by neither who has engaged them nor the purpose for which their valuations are required. Valuers should be impartial in the opinions they express. The Property Valuers Profession Act 2000 requires valuers to act with strict independence, objectivity and impartiality in performing a property valuation. These provisions apply equally to a municipal valuer.

So said the supreme court of appeal in the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality v The Chairman of the Valuation Appeal Board for the City of Johannesburg & Connaught Properties (Pty) Ltd. The court found that the Johannesburg Municipality’s rates policy that tried to side-step the municipal valuer was inconsistent with the Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act 2004.