Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council has resolved to repossess 10 stands from individuals and companies while 15 home seekers who benefited from the Bulawayo City Council’s Emhlangeni stands pre-sale scheme risk losing their properties.
The council’s decision follows non-payment of outstanding balances and rates by the beneficiaries.
According to the latest council minutes, some of the 10 stands that have been repossessed were purchased in the 1980s but the accounts were not serviced and no developments were made on the stands. The stands are in Kelvin North, Thorngrove, Tshabalala, Mpopoma, Nketa and Matsheumhlophe.
The city council expressed concern that the stands had become a health hazard and dangerous to the public as they were being used as dumping sites, while some had become breeding areas for snakes.
After repossession, beneficiaries will be given first option to re-purchase the stand at a price to be determined by the city valuer.
The council’s decision comes two months after it resolved to advertise with the intention to repossess and auction, more than 2 000 properties including residential stands that have gone for between five to 50 years without any development.
The owners of the properties, most of which are located in the low density suburbs were reportedly also not paying rates and rentals.
The city council said the Emhlangeni stands were allocated to the beneficiaries in 2012 on a pre-sale scheme and they were given 18 months to pay.
“The beneficiaries were given a period of 18 months to pay off their outstanding balances but the period elapsed in 2014. The stands are fully serviced and money owed is overdue.
“This resulted in the local authority, in 2014, exposing the beneficiaries in the local press encouraging them to settle their debts or risk losing the properties,” reads the council minutes.
The department of housing and community services released a list of names, with the beneficiaries owing between $1 171 and $6 318.
“Non-compliance letters have been written but the beneficiaries have not complied. The housing and community services department circulated the intention to repossess to other council departments, who responded.
“Directors of other departments at the council had no objections to the repossession of the stands as long as due protocol was followed,” read the council minutes.
The city council also indicated that its land debtors from different suburbs owed the local authority more than $31 million with Cowdray Park owing $23 million and Emhlangeni $3 million.
Other suburbs include Mahatshula, Pumula, Emganwini, Luveve 5, Tshabalala Extension, Magwegwe North and West, Woodville and High Mount.—@pamelashumba1