BCC condemns 161 CBD buildings

Council said the inspection department only dealt with unsightly, dilapidated and dangerous buildings in terms of the model building by-laws.

SEVERAL buildings in Bulawayo are in a sorry state, with council saying 161 structures were recently condemned.

The latest Bulawayo City Council (BBC) report said most of the dilapidated buildings were identified during inspections done in April this year.

Council said the inspection department only dealt with unsightly, dilapidated and dangerous buildings in terms of the model building by-laws.

“Buildings in the city centre are in a poor state and some considered abandoned, dilapidated or derelict were identified.

“As per statutory obligations, notices had been issued to these properties in terms of section 48 (Dangerous Buildings) and section 49 (Dilapidated and Unsightly Buildings and Defective Sewerage Systems of the Model Buildings By-Laws, 1977) and section 214 of the Bulawayo (Buildings, Roads and Streets) By-Laws (1971).

“Council has latitude in terms of statutory provisions to carry out such operations to remove the offending danger or nuisance to the public at the cost of the landlord.”

The local authority revealed that it has never pursued this avenue effectively due to lack of resources required to undertake the costly exercise, including clearing the sites and effecting demolitions.

The council report further stated that 161 buildings were identified in the central business district and of these, 20 had complied, 65 partially complied, four were taken to court, while 76 had not done anything.

“Accordingly, penalties were charged to the non-compliant properties. A total of 29 non-compliant buildings were revisited and accordingly issued with final notices,” the report said.

BCC recently recorded a 32,18% decrease in building plan approvals amid fears that the decline could be a result of unsustainable fees or due to economic instability in the country.

The report on the building control section monthly statistics presented by housing and community services director Dictor Khumalo during a full council meeting last month stated that in April this year, 189 building plans were processed.

“Of these, 118 building plans with a value of US$3 077 289 were approved, while 71 were referred back for corrections. There was a decrease of 32,18% in approved plans compared to the March 2024 approvals.

“A total of 234 building plans with a value of US$6 131 100 were submitted in April 2024, an increase of 9,35% compared to last month’s figure. A possible US$61 311 was raised from plan submissions as plan submission fees,” the report said.

The report further indicated that 1 581 inspections were carried out in April this year and from these inspections, five public buildings and 29 dilapidated buildings were visited and accordingly processed.

Indications were that the section was still facing serious transport problems, which made monitoring of building a challenge.

On the inspection of public buildings, council noted that public building such as banks, cinemas, hotels and others were inspected once a year by an interdepartmental team of inspectors.

Buildings found in satisfactory condition were issued with public building certificates by the chamber secretary in terms of the Bulawayo Buildings, Road and Street By-Laws of 1971 section 249.

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