BCC property records in shambles

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The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has instituted a forensic audit of its properties dotted around the city amid reports the local authority has lost records for most of its buildings.

The inventory follows revelations that tenants, some of whom were given 10-year leases in the 1970s, were still occupying the properties and no longer paying rentals to the local authority.

Bulawayo’s 29 councillors held an emergency meeting on Wednesday to push for the audit.
The council has several properties ranging from houses in high-density suburbs, sports clubs, shops to community halls.

But, it has now emerged the local authority has lost records of some of these properties.

Several councillors told NewsDay on Thursday they were pushing for an immediate audit of the properties because suspicion was that some unscrupulous housing department officials were allegedly collecting rentals in private and converting the money to their own use.

The council caucus meeting made it clear those found with invalid or bogus leases should be evicted.

According to insiders, some councillors felt this stance would be too harsh on some poor residents occupying council houses, particularly in the rundown highdensity suburbs of Makokoba and Iminyela.

A long-serving councillor indicated city fathers had passed a similar resolution early last year, but it was completely ignored.

The late former town clerk Stanley Donga died while in the middle of pushing for an inventory of all council properties.

“The council’s estate department which manages leases has a shambolic record of properties,” said the councillor.

“They don’t know that some of the buildings scattered around town are owned by council, but all that will be sorted after the audit.”

Strenuous efforts to get a comment from Mayor Thaba Moyo were fruitless while BCC public relations officer Bongiwe Ngwenya demanded questions in writing, but had failed to respond at the time of going to press.

However, Housing and Community Services director Isaiah Magagula said although the issue could have been discussed at a councillors’ caucus, he was yet to be informed.

“I didn’t the attend the Wednesday meeting and they (councilors) are still to let us know of what decision they came up with,” he said.