BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
THE Bulawayo City Council has bemoaned loss of revenue due to residents who abandon their stands after acquiring them, which makes it difficult for the local authority to recover money for rates.
The city fathers said the abandoned stands had become havens for criminals and others turned into illegal dump sites, posing a danger to the residents.
Last year, the local authority repossessed 179 stands in Cowdray Park, Entumbane and Pumula after some of the owners went for up to 22 years without making any meaningful development on them.
Bulawayo deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube said the issue of residents abandoning stands was a cause for concern..
“This is seriously affecting the operations of the council. Council makes revenue when stands are all occupied.
“Some of these stands have been left idle for a long time,” said Mlandu.
“Some of them are now being used as dumpsites and hide outs for criminals, which poses a danger to residents.”
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Ncube said such issues were disrupting their plans to reduce the housing backlog.
“We expect residents to at least develop their stands within a five year time frame.
“A stand which is not being developed must be repossessed,” he said.
“We usually do not like repossessing stands because we are a listening council.”
Council has the authority to repossess the abandoned stands using the Titles Registration and Derelict Lands Act (chapter 20:20).
The Act states that; “Persons having claim on derelict land may apply to High Court or other public body upon immovable property in Zimbabwe and such property is abandoned, deserted derelict, 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 applying for relief under this Act.”