The Hwange Local Board (HLB) has threatened to repossess about 50 residential and 60 industrial stands in Chibondo medium density suburb and industrial area after the owners failed to pay bills, or develop the stands.
In a notice, HLB advised the listed property owners to visit its offices before 20 December 2022 to pay off their outstanding bills.
The rate defaulters have not paid council for a period of more than 120 days, with some not having done so for years. Part of the notice read:
Note that Council has already started the process of instituting legal proceedings against rate defaulters and measures are being taken to repossess undeveloped stands in line with the Urban Councils’ Act, which compels the local authority to repossess undeveloped stands without compensation, where necessary.
HLB spokesperson Dumisani Tsingo said the failure of beneficiaries to develop their stands was hampering the growth of the town. He said:
We have an ever-ballooning waiting and as a town that is envisaging growth, we can’t have land, which stays undeveloped for years.
Nsingo said the local authority will likely repossess and re-sell the undeveloped stands. He said:
The notice we flighted wasn’t for repossessing properties but it was to remind the property owners to come forth and make plans to pay their outstanding bills.
However, the beneficiaries of those properties will be dealt with as per policy.
Just like any other Council, we are likely to repossess. There are laws that permit us to do so such as the Titles Registration and Derelict Lands Act Chapter 20:20 and the Urban Councils Act.
Council is empowered to repossess and resell undeveloped housing stands after five years.
HLB is owed more than $200 million in unpaid rates by residents and other ratepayers. | The Sunday News