BCC embarks on massive stands repossession
THE Bulawayo City Council has embarked on a massive repossession of undeveloped stands from individuals and companies who have exceeded the time limit to develop them.
One of the affected organisations, the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), had 700 stands repossessed in Pumula South after it failed to develop them within the stipulated time.
The council is also repossessing stands from individuals in areas such as Pumula South, Emganwini and Mahatshula.
Two weeks ago, the local authority repossessed 137 stands allocated to Homelink in Parklands.
According to the latest council report, the stands were allocated to NSSA on 13 February 2006.
"The agreement of sale between council and NSSA, dated 17 October 2006, stated that NSSA should commence development within six months from the date of the last signature. Development should be completed within 36 months of the last signature of this agreement by the parties hereto," reads the report.
The report further states that then acting town clerk, Mrs Sikhangele Zhou, circulated a memorandum with a request from NSSA in September 2008.
The authority had sent an appeal to all local authorities to be patient with NSSA concerning development projects as they were affected by hyper-inflation.
All council departments responded and it was resolved that the request be turned down as the contract period had lapsed.
The report shows that in July, Bulawayo's Director of Engineering Services, Engineer Simela Dube, generated a circular to all departmental heads detailing the breach of contract by NSSA.
The chamber secretary Mrs Zhou said; "Two years back, NSSA intimated that their development plans were severely affected by the hyper inflationary environment.
"In that regard, they requested all local authorities to levy their rates on their undeveloped stands as though they were developed. This arrangement was made to guard against loss of revenue to councils due to non-development. In return, the local authorities were to extend the period of development for NSSA."
The report read that all the departments were against the suggestion and supported the move to repossess the stands.
"The Director of Housing and Community Services, Mr Isaiah Magagula, went on to serve the authority with a letter of notice for non-compliance, dated 29 July 2010," stated the report.
NSSA is said to have responded two months later indicating that they were still interested in developing the stands.
"They also promised to visit council to discuss the matter between September and October. To date the visit has not materialised. In light of the above, my department feels that council should repossess all the 700 stands in Pumula South Phase Two, from NSSA," said Mr Magagula.
Debating on the issue in council chambers, Clr Siboniso Khumalo, in whose ward the stands are located, said council should develop land on its own without inviting private developers.
Ward 25 councillor Clr Edward Ndlovu wanted to know if the stands could not be allocated to beneficiaries who would then service them.
The councillors resolved that all the 700 stands be repossessed from NSSA as the organisation had breached relevant municipal by-laws.