BY SILAS NKALA
BULAWAYO City Council has threatened to repossess 88 commercial and industrial stands after the owners failed to pay bills, or to develop them.
In a notice yesterday, town clerk Christopher Dube said if the owners do not settle their bills, or develop the stands within 30 days, they will be repossessed.
“Notice is hereby given to the owners of the listed properties to come forward and make the necessary payments to the council within the next 30 days from the date of the notice,” Dube said.
“Failure to do so will result in council repossessing the said properties in terms of section 5 of the Titles Registration and Derelict Lands Act Chapter 20:20, which reads: ‘Whenever there remains due and unpaid the space for five years, any rate assessment payable to any municipality or other body upon any immovable property in Zimbabwe and such property is abandoned, deserted and left and the owner thereof cannot be found, it shall be lawful for the person or body claiming such rate or assessment to apply to the High Court, stating the amount claimed to be due and the grounds for applying for relief under this Act’.”
Dube said the owners were required to pay the outstanding amounts in full and submit full contact details.
Most of the abandoned industrial stands are located in Kelvin West and North, Thorngrove, Downingtown, Belmont and Westondale.
Some of the owners who reportedly abandoned their properties were Matabeleland Farmers Co-op Limited, South African Mutual Life Assurance Society, Kembo Mohadi’s VitaFoam Central Africa Private Limited Company, among many others.
Most of the derelict commercial stands are located across various suburbs in Bulawayo such as Lobengula West, Luveve, Nkulumane, Magwegwe, Emakhandeni, Njube, Entumbane, Pumula East, South and North, Mabuthweni, Iminyela, Magwegwe North, Methodist Village, Nketa, Emganwini, Cowdray Park and Tshabalala.
The developments come at a time when the local authority recently served beneficiaries of housing stands in Emganwini with non-compliance letters for failing to develop the stands since 2002.
Housing and community services director Dictor Khumalo recently told the health, housing and education committee that council allocated various stands between September 15, 2000 and November 21, 2002.
Financial director Kempton Ndimande had no objection to the intended repossession of the stands.
Council agreed that the stand owners should be dealt with according to policy, and that the department’s view was that the stands be repossessed and allocated to people on the council waiting list.
Last year, BCC repossessed 179 stands in Cowdray Park, Entumbane and Pumula after some of the owners had gone for 22 years without developing their stands.
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