Harare Wants To Demolish CBD Buildings
7 April 2024
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Harare City Council Seeks Government Backing for CBD Building DemolitionsIn a significant urban development move, the Harare City Council has initiated a process that could lead to the demolition of some buildings within the city’s central business district (CBD).

This drastic measure follows the council’s recent issuance of a 14-day ultimatum demanding that all property owners and occupants revamp their buildings by making necessary repairs, refurbishments, or repainting to meet council standards.

The council’s push for more stringent regulations comes as they seek to enforce a cleaner, safer urban environment.

The Harare Town Clerk, Engineer Hosiah Chisango, detailed the council’s intentions in a recent interview, stating, “We have written to the Ministry of Local Government concerning the issue, and we are hoping they’ll release a Statutory Instrument to cement the issue, which will then give us authority to withdraw the building license for those who are failing to meet the standard.

“Chisango emphasized the dire state of some CBD buildings, pointing out that over 20 people can be found operating under one roof in facilities no longer suitable for the current occupancy.

“If anyone breaches that, we will withdraw trading licenses or close those buildings,” he warned.

The council has outlined its plan to target buildings along major city roads, including Robert Mugabe Road, Jason Moyo Avenue, and Samora Machel Avenue, among others.

The targeted areas are known for heavy pedestrian and vendor traffic, which exacerbates the safety and health risks associated with dilapidated buildings.“We are doing thorough inspections and we are working with the police,” Chisango added.

“We have noticed now that more than 20 or so people can be operating under one building. Now, the facilities are no longer adequate for the people in that building.

”Furthermore, the council is tackling issues with street vendors, who often spill out from overcrowded buildings, cluttering sidewalks and streets.

“We are doing that for safety issues. And there is this tendency where those people take their wares and display them outside. On that, we are working together with the police to remove vendors on the street,” Chisango explained.

Property owners have been given the option to submit their plans for the required improvements to the council, detailing what they intend to do and when.

This initiative by the Harare City Council seeks to not only improve the structural integrity and aesthetic of the CBD but also to ensure the safety and health of its occupants and visitors.

The next steps hinge on the government’s response to the council’s request for additional enforcement powers, which could redefine the cityscape of Harare’s central district.