Thorngrove residents fear eviction over unpaid rates

By Lubalethu Ndlovu

Thorngrove residents claimed they have received eviction notices from the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) over unpaid rates that they are unaware off.

The residents raised this concern during a stakeholders meeting organised by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) at Thorngrove Community Hall recently.

They said a majority of residents were given agreements of sale by the city council, which they honoured in order to receive title deeds of their houses.

But now, the residents are failing to understand why the local authority seeks to evict them from houses they owned.

“How can someone come and evict us from houses that we paid for, claiming that we owe them. Which debt are they talking about, when I paid for the house,” said Charles Ncube, the Thorngrove Resident’s Association Chairperson.

He added that eviction was a serious concern and should be taken as such, as most people had nowhere to go, should the eviction succeed.

Taking note of their concerns, legal practitioner, Nikiwe Ncube -Tshabalala, advised residents that they should make sure their documentation was in order as that would prove their owned the houses.

“The only claim to own the properties is when you have the right documentation and paperwork to substantiate your claims. When BCC gives you an agreement of sale, there are terms which are listed and need to be adhered to plus the amount of balance that has to be cleared before one becomes an owner of the property,” Ncube –Tshabalala said.

She added that properties could lawfully belong to them, if they had the requisite title deeds or a session of agreement from the BCC, which stated one was an owner of the property and is listed in their name.

The legal practitioner also clarified that residents had to write wills for their property so that no disputes arose once a spouse is deceased.

“This will also allow the rightful people to benefit what is theirs and avoid misunderstandings,” she said.

Contacted for comment, BCC Public Relations Officer, Bongiwe Ngwenya, said she could not confirm what the residents alluded to because their grievances could not be located within their system.

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