Source: Banks to auction 22 houses – Sunday News Mar 19, 2017
Nozibelo Maphosa and Dickson Mangena, Sunday News Reporters
A TOTAL of 22 upmarket houses in Bulawayo will on Friday go under the hammer after their owners failed to service loans, mostly to banking institutions.
The houses, situated in affluent suburbs such as Ilanda, Barham Green, Newton West, Parklands and Hillcrest belong to business people who have failed to service loans from banks or defaulted in paying rentals at commercial premises they are operating from. The houses will be auctioned by Bulawayo Real Estate.
In an interview, Bulawayo Real Estate director Mr Mike Nekati said the properties belong to those who were failing to settle debts with various organisations or individuals.
“Notice was given on 10 March as per normal procedure, we put three adverts to give people three weeks to make arrangements with those they owe money. The first advert was put last week, and the date of sale is next week. The sale will be at the Bulawayo Theatre club at 10am after which at that time we will start hammering the properties,” said Mr Nekati.
He said after the first advert was put, three properties have since been withdrawn from the list.
“Out of the 28 properties which were to be auctioned, three properties have been removed, these include one industrial property, a residential property and a commercial property and I would like to believe that a payment agreement has been reached between the two parties.”
Mr Nekati said people should desist from putting themselves in tricky situations and must get loans they will be able to service.
“People should do risk analysis before taking loans and using their properties as collateral. They should take advantage of public voluntary auctions in case they see that they cannot meet the agreed date to pay back the money, before the situation worsens and sell their own properties on a big market because in an auction we sell them at a forced sale value,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) has raised alarm on the number of residential properties that are being put under the hammer stating that this was disempowering people.
“If you check the list of properties being sold through auction, one or two of them are commercial properties, while the rest are people’s principal residences. What it shows here is that people are disempowered more than they are empowered,” said AAG chief executive officer Mr Silani Mtshiya.
“The increase in principal houses being auctioned is now more of an outbreak than just a case of a person failing to service a loan. This situation is not normal and there should be an understanding that the economy is bad. When these people lose their houses where are they expected to go?” quizzed Mr Mtshiya.
He said families were suffering after losing the properties.
“What should be realised is that most of these loans that people are failing to service are loans that they took when we introduced the US dollar, and because we had no prior experience with the dollar people took loans that were not sustainable.
The loans were not feasible because the interest rates were as high as 42 percent.”
He said defaults were high and that was the reason why even the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has come in to adjust bank interest rates. Mr Mtshiya said a number of the cases were now mired in controversy as some lawyers were now feasting on the situation.
“A number of lawyers have made a career from selling people’s houses. The Law Society should look into that practice. The judiciary is also letting people down by evaluating properties below their market value, maybe their reasoning being that the economy is bad, maybe they should also appreciate that someone failed to pay because the economy is bad. It should be objective.”