Bulawayo requires urban renewal to renovate most of the dilapidated buildings that have become an eyesore in a city that in the 1980s was one of the cleanest cities in the world.
Aggregate Properties director Themba Dube told NewsDay there was need for a massive sprucing up of buildings which are in a bad state because most properties were built in the early 1990s.
He however said renovation of buildings would depend on the performance of the economy, but was optimistic that something could be done to make Bulawayo look better.
The Bulawayo City Council once threatened to close dilapidated buildings, but nothing has been done years later. Some of the rundown buildings have been illegally occupied by Zanu PF youths under the guise of the indigenisation programme.
But at the weekend Deputy Prime Minister Khupe condemned the property grab by Zanu PF members regardless of the state of the buildings. The Zanu PF youths say some of the buildings have been lying unused for over a decade.
Dube said contrary to sentiments by the Public Works minister Gabuza Joel Gabbuza that Bulawayo-based companies are not well structured and are not bidding for construction tenders, local firms were keen to undertake construction projects.
“There are briefcase firms which don’t have the machinery, but they always get the tenders. Further, the time frame on the tenders is a problem because most of the firms need new machines. We are all focused on Zinara (Zimbabwe National Roads Authority) projects in towns and districts, especially road upgrading, and the competition is high,” he said.
He said the construction industry was still ailing because it was equally affected by inflation in the past, but was optimistic the industry would grow considering that there was a lot of infrastructure development required.
“The challenge we have always had is recapitalisation and also money from the banks is expensive, such that versus the projects we are undertaking, it’s not sustainable for some companies to go for big projects. The government has been availing some funding, but it’s not enough,” said Dube.