By NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has condemned 51 city buildings, saying they posed a danger to inhabitants and passers-by.
This was revealed in the latest BCC report of the engineering services committee.
In May, the local authority revealed that 14 buildings in the city centre had been condemned as unfit, with owners given a timeline to rectify the anomalies, but without success.
The number of condemned buildings has since shot up to 51, according to inspections conducted by the engineering services committee in terms of building by-laws.
“In a recent exercise conducted by the department, about 51 buildings in the city centre that were in a poor state and considered abandoned, dilapidated or derelict had been identified,” the engineering services committee report read.
“As per statutory obligations, notices had been issued to these properties in terms of sections 48 (Dangerous Buildings) and section 49 (Dilapidated and Unsightly Buildings and Defective Sewerage Systems of the Model Buildings By-Laws, 1977), section 214 of the Bulawayo (Buildings, Roads and Streets) By-Laws 1971 and despite the efforts, very little progress had been achieved so far in terms of compliance.”
Council is empowered by the law to demolish dilapidated buildings.
In 2017, three people escaped death by a whisker when a building housing a Simbisa Brands restaurant, Nandos, along Jason Moyo Street, collapsed.
“Council had latitude in terms of statutory provisions to carry out such operations to remove the offending danger/nuisance to the public at the cost of the landlord.
“This avenue had not been effectively pursued in the city in view of the lack of specific resources that were required to undertake this costly work, that is, clearing the sites and effecting demolitions and making good the site,” the council report added.
In 2020, council said some government buildings such as Mhlahlandlela Government Complex, Zimpost, the Registrar-General’s Office and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority were prone to fire.
The country’s second city is witnessing an unprecedented increase in the number of abandoned, neglected and derelict buildings in a clear sign of urban decay.