Zupco booted out of premises


Financially crippled Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) has been booted out of its largest depot in the Kelvin Industrial area of Bulawayo due to unpaid rates of over $100 000 owed to council.

According to the latest Bulawayo City Council (BCC) report, the cash-strapped bus company had pleaded with the city authorities not to repossess its depots — Stands 2200 A Steeldate, Khami Road and 13274 in Kelvin North. The local authority, however, turned down Zupco’s request to retain its Kevin North depot — which is Zupco’s largest depot.

“The request by Zupco to retain the Kelvin North depot will not be acceded to on the basis that the company (Zupco) has to settle all outstanding arrears in respect of all properties the company is leasing, including the surrendered ones,” said BCC director of Housing and Community Services Isaiah Magagula in the report.
In response, Zupco said it wanted to retain its largest depot as it was increasing its fleet.

“Zupco intends to increase its fleet before the end of the year and the Khami depot would not be able to accommodate the hyper activity anticipated,” read the report. “The increase in fleet would be beneficial to the people in Bulawayo Urban and undoubtedly restore order in that industry.”

The local authority, however, felt that Zupco’s reasons did not hold water.

“Zupco’s said increased fleet of buses has not yet materialised and the few new buses seen around were plying rural areas and therefore not servicing Bulawayo,” said Magagula.

“Zupco is also negotiating in bad faith as evidenced by their change of mind when they became reluctant to vacate the Training Centre (Girl Guides), which they had voluntarily surrendered back to council.”

Magagula added that of the initial $94 281,07 which Zupco owed council, the company had only paid $8 100, whilst the outstanding amount had now ballooned to $107 573, 90 as at June 2011.

In the circumstances, BCC was of the view that it would not be prudent to allow the company to continue using the premises without paying rentals.

“Council therefore upholds its decision and has resolved to repossess Stand 13274 Kelvin North,” read the report.

“Also, that Zupco pays all its outstanding arrears regarding all properties it is leasing from council including the surrendered ones.”

Zupco was only allowed to retain the City Hall selling office and Khami road depot.