HomeNewsHarare to outsource property management

Harare to outsource property management

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HARARE mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni has said the local authority is proposing to outsource management of its large property portfolio to experts, who will advise on how to dispose the properties in a profitable manner.

BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

The city last year disposed a number of properties in the capital, including part of Harare Gardens, as it struggled to raise money to finance payment of salary arrears to its nearly 10 000 workers, but the move was shot down by residents, who argued some of the properties had gone for a song.

“We are exploring opportunities to maximise through outsourcing parts of our property management and disposal of some of our housing stock to sitting tenants. There are definite prospects worth exploring,” Manyenyeni said.

He said the council was also considering the sale of its properties along Luck Street and vacant residential stands in northern suburbs by public auction to raise nearly $20 million to pay off salary arrears.

Manyenyeni, however, admitted he was not aware how many residential properties the city inherited from the colonial regime at independence in 1980.

“I do not have an answer for that historical side,” he said.

The city has over the years disposed some of its prime properties in Milton Park and family homes in affluent suburbs like Highlands and Borrowdale at concessionary prices to its former executives and senior civil servants.

The last publicly known beneficiary of such transactions is the council’s former caretaker commission chairperson, Sekesayi Makwavarara, who bought a Highlands house at 40% of its value after then Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo sanctioned the sale.

The Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) has often criticised the council for selling public property in deals which they described as bordering on collusion with capital or corruption.

In 2016, the city sold 2,5 hectares of Harare Gardens for $1,76 million to AfricaSun to facilitate the expansion of Crown Plaza Monomotapa Hotel.

“The issue of the sale needs to be investigated further. It stinks of collusion on the part of the city, if at all it represents the gradual privatisation of public space that we have seen over the years,” CHRA director, Mfundo Mlilo said then.

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