By-The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is set to demolish 12 church structures that are either dilapidated and an eyesore or have been illegally constructed as it ups its fight to rid the city of illegal and dilapidated buildings.
The churches have been issued with demolition notices for their illegal buildings amid revelations that the local authority has listed 47 properties in the Central Business District (CBD) that are dilapidated.
According to the latest council report, 12 churches have been issued with notices to rectify or demolish their illegal structures or risk having the local authority use its own resources to demolish the buildings, with the churches bearing the costs.
The 12 are Zion Christian Church (Emganwini), The Living Gospel World Church (Emganwini), Assemblies of God Church (Tshabalala), Johanne Masowe (Nkulumane), The Same God Apostles ((Pumula East), Holy Apostolic Church in Zion (Pelandaba), Gospel Preaching Ministry (Nkulumane), Potters House Christ Fellowship (Nkulumane), Apostolic Faith Mission of Zimbabwe (Nkulumane), St Lukes United Methodist Church (Nkulumane), Zaoga Church (Nkulumane) and New Birth Fellowship in Nkulumane.
Last year, the local authority upped its surveillance mechanisms of illegal structures in the city, where a number of churches and residential properties were issued with notices.
It is from there that the 47 properties were identified as being derelict with the owners given notices to rectify their structures.
BCC has the authority to repossess such properties as guided by the Titles Registration and Derelict Lands Act (Chapter 20:20).
The Act states that; “Persons having claim on derelict land may apply to High Court or other public body upon immovable property in Zimbabwe and such property is abandoned, deserted, derelict, and the owner thereof cannot be found, it shall be lawful for the person or body claiming such rate or assessment to apply to the High Court, stating the amount claimed to be due and the grounds applying for relief under this Act.”
The local authority revealed that of the identified buildings, 26 were classified as work in progress with the property owners working to fix the anomalies, while there was no action being taken totally by the owners of two other buildings.
“The Director of Housing and Community Services (Mr Dictor Khumalo) reported on 9 December, 2021 that 55 percent of the identified buildings were at various levels of compliance. The department was commencing court processes to obtain repair orders on 15 percent of the buildings,” reads the council report.
Seven of the properties have court process against them and 12 have partially complied with council notices.
The properties that have been red flagged are Number 102 Jason Moyo Street, Number 102 Robert Mugabe Way (Revindra Lalloo Rama), Lot 1 of 484 BT (Zim Cinema Investments), Number 105 Fife Street (TV Sales and Hire), Number 105 Fort Street, Number 105 George Silundika (Kudakwashe Maponga) and Number 107 Robert Mugabe Way (Alasco (Pvt) Ltd).
Other buildings are Number 102 H Chitepo (Dorchester Enterprises), Number 112 Robert Mugabe Way (Beglows Investment), Number 11 115 Robert Mugabe Way (Field Cress Investments), Number 116 Jason Moyo Street (Norab Investment), Number 120 Samuel Parirenyatwa Street, Number 121 Jason Moyo Street, Number 122 Samuel Parirenyatwa Street, Number 124A Samuel Parirenyatwa Street, Number 133/135 George Silundika Street and Number 157-161 Leopold Takawira Avenue.
Other properties that have been red flagged are number 46 Railway Avenue, Number 53 George Silundika Street (Lalla Investments), Number 56 Railway Avenue, Number 58A Robert Mugabe Way, Number 59A George Silundika Street (Ishmael Ahmed Jina), Number 62 Samuel Parirenyatwa Street (The Trustees of Gumtree AME Church), Number 80 Fife Street (R Hassamal Investment), number 96 Robert Mugabe (Grill Mer) and Number 97 George Silundika.