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Bulawayo council to descend on errant property owners

by Staff reporter
10 Oct 2021 at 05:32hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council has warned errant property owners that subdivide their buildings into smaller lettable units, charge rentals in foreign currency and yet do not pay what is due to the local authority.

The local authority has over the years had a challenge with residents not paying their rates and rentals which has seen the debt owed to the local authority balloon to more than $1,7 billion. Speaking during a Sunday News podcast on Thursday, the city's Deputy Mayor, who is also councillor for Ward One, Councillor Mlandu Ncube said the local authority will soon be coming hard on unscrupulous landlords as they were impacting negatively on service delivery.

He said those in the Central Business District in particular were now affecting the status of the city as their failure to pay was compromising service delivery.

"In Ward One, the payment trend is close to 45 to 50 percent, the crisis that we are facing is that the ward is made up of both residential and business premises of which most of the residential owners are paying. However, we have got a challenge from the business side where we have discovered that most property owners are benefiting from their tenants and in turn these landlords are not remitting what is due to council," he said.

On the errant property owners, Clr Ncube said it was unfortunate that they were just choosing not to pay what was due to the local authority as in all fairness they had the resources and were instead opting to be malicious.

"Council is not saying that when your bill is $12  000 come and pay $12 000, we are saying come and pay something, do not allow your bill to go for three to four months without paying. However, for instance in the CBD you just go around people have divided their shops to small lettable units, you ask the person renting the lettable unit they will tell you they are paying close to US$120 a month.

"The landlord will have close to 10 of those tenants paying that US$120 meaning they get US$1  200 a month, it's a serious crisis. I will tell you that in the CBD three quarters of those landlords are not paying because they just do not want to pay, we are thus saying to these property owners please pay before we take drastic measures," he said.

Clr Ncube said the more people defaulted in paying, the more it affects service delivery as the local authority will have to make do with the little resources it gets from the people that pay their rates.

"The more people fail to pay their rates it is an unfortunate situation because people need services, that 50 percent that is paying rates needs services. Therefore, when we increase we try to cover-up for those that are not paying, which is not fair.

"People should know that by not paying it actually affects the coming year's budget because we will try to come up with a figure that will square up where we are having shortfalls. So we are encouraging our people to pay the little that they have," said Clr Ncube.

Meanwhile, Clr Ncube has sensationally defended the local authority saying service delivery in the city was not as bad as people say.

"If you go around in the CBD; first of its kind, we have renewed pavements, go to 12th Avenue you will find areas that were previously not paved are now paved, that is an increase in service delivery. If you go to Old Pumula and Pumula East you will find that we have changed sewer pipes and we are replacing old meters. As of now I can tell you the local authority has close to 55 meter readers that are going door-to-door reading meters.

"To me all that is service delivery increment, even if you check the state of our roads, yes, they are bad but you go around you see us repairing our roads under these difficult times. You go to Princess Margaret Clinic or any of the council-owned clinics, you are attended by a nurse who gives you a Paracetamol, who gives you primary medical care, so to me service delivery has not decreased, yes, it has not increased drastically but we have managed to stay afloat," said the Deputy Mayor.

Source - The Sunday News
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