BCC mulls demolishing dilapidated building in CBD

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is mulling demolishing a building at the corner of Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street and 11th Avenue which was destroyed by fire in 2017.

According to council minutes, the owners of the property had promised to engage contractors to clear the site and rebuild but to date, no changes have been made.

A report presented by Director of Housing and Community Services, Dictor Khumalo, noted that the site, in its dilapidated state, was a danger to members of the public.

He said the council had been receiving inquiries pertaining to the sale of the building from prospective buyers but the owners were not willing to sell the property.

“The Director of Housing and Community Services reported (14th July, 2021) that the above-mentioned building was burnt sometime in August 2017. The building was located at the corner of 10th Ave and J.M. Nkomo street. In order to guard for the safety of the public, the site was once fenced off, however, the fence had been stolen,” the minutes read.

“Engagements were then made with the property owners to demolish the structure and make good the site. The notices were served as per model building by-laws as follows: · First notice – 11 July 2017 · Second notice 12 October 2017 A response was received on 25 October 2017. The department was promised that a contractor had been engaged to clear the site and carry out a new project. Up to date, there had been no feedback or action on the site.”

“Further engagements with the property owners had yielded no positive outcome,” the minutes read, “Our concerns had been the public safety and health which were being threatened by the prolonged existence of the non-compliant structure. Numerous enquiries had been received by prospective buyers but the owners were not willing to sell either. Council (2/1/2018) had resolved that a demolishing order be done in terms of the procedure. To date, the matter was before the courts for a demolishing order.”

“In a recent exercise conducted by the Department, about 51 buildings in the city centre that were in a poor state and considered abandoned, dilapidated or derelict had been identified,” the minutes read.

The report noted that the department only dealt with unsightly, dilapidated and dangerous buildings in terms of the model building by-laws.

“As per Statutory obligations notices had been issued to these properties in terms of Sections 48, Dangerous Buildings and Section 49, Dilapidated and Unsightly Buildings & Defective Sewerage Systems of the Model Buildings By-Laws, 1977, Section 214 of the Bulawayo (Buildings, roads and Streets) By-Laws 1971, and despite the efforts, very little progress had been achieved so far in terms of compliance.”

The report highlighted that BCC had latitude in terms of statutory provisions to carry out such operations to remove the offending danger/ nuisance to the public at the cost of the landlord.

“This avenue had not been effectively pursued in the city in view lack of specific resources that were required to undertake this costly work which includes clearing the sites, effecting demolitions and making good the site. Four buildings were being attended to while two were still work in progress. Three had been fully attended to. Three are in the process of being charged penalties while the rest were on second notice.”

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