City condemns Celebration Centre | The Herald

via City condemns Celebration Centre | The Herald April 7, 2014 by Peter Matambanadzo

The Celebration Centre building in Borrowdale was allegedly constructed without Harare City Council approval and has been operating illegally since 2006. According to documents in our possession, the city’s fire department claims certain material used to construct the 3 100-seat auditorium, rendered the building a fire hazard as they do not meet model building by-laws which is a set of construction standards on safety.

Investigations by The Herald show that Hear the Word Ministries, now Celebration Ministries International, got authority from the Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development Ministry to occupy the building on condition that they meet some stipulated conditions.

According to a document signed by Local Government Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo, the church was to provide additional fire protection in the form of a sprinkler system by July 30, 2006.

Dr Chombo said the building should have a ready telephone link with the Fire Brigade by April 30, 2006 and all fire escape doors should have panic bolts for emergency escapes by May 30 of the same year.

The minister said that by September 30, 2006 additional hydrants required by the Fire Brigade should have been installed.
Dr Chombo said upon meeting these conditions the church should then obtain a certificate of occupation from council.

The municipality on Friday confirmed that the building was operating without approval and work was underway to regularise its use.
“Once that process is done the owners will be issued with a certificate of occupation. The work involves a fire rating assessment of the building material to establish how long it takes to evacuate the 3 000 seater building in the event of a fire,” the city’s corporate communications division said.

The building, the city said, was constructed using unapproved materials.
“We therefore condemned the building and issued a notice that the building was in use at owner’s risk. The city has not issued the owners with a certificate of occupation.”

The Fire Brigade distanced itself from the minister’s letter claiming that it was not aware of the application for a departure certificate for stand number 17445 Harare Township, 162 Swan Drive, Borrowdale West.

“We do not know who was consulted when the ministry set out the listed conditions. It will be unfair for the Fire Brigade to be expected to endorse a document that we were not part to,” Chief Fire Officer Mr Saviour Mugava said in a letter dated July 6, 2006 to Harare’s acting chamber secretary.

In an interview last week, Mr Mugava said the building was not yet regularised.
He said the church structure was constructed using steel and boards in breach of city by laws and posed safety concerns.

“It’s a public building. It has to have solid building brick work of at least nine inch walls and concrete columns to make the structure strong and safe for the public,” he said.

“The structure does not resemble the building plan and it’s not safe to the public and cause problems for fire fighting.”
Mr Mugava said the Fire Department suggested that the church erect a plaque at its entrance stating that the public should enter at its own risk.

Contacted for comment a spokesperson at Celebration Centre who refused to identify himself said: “We are at a church service. We don’t jump to your beat. You should come during the week.”

He asked The Herald to disclose its source before hanging up.
Celebration Centre, in their application for a departure certificate, argued that they used galvanised steel frame technology.

Deacon Misheck Humure said the technology was used extensively in the United States, Europe and other parts of Africa. The church said the technology was cost-effective compared to conventional building methods and reduced construction times.



  • comment-avatar
    Jenandebvu 8 years ago

    How can a church fail to pay “tithes and offerings” to Zanu Pf. This is an eye opener. Next we are coming Johanne Masowe wechishanu to ask about your toilets. Your communing at Coca Cola without water and proper toilets is a health hazard.

    The minister of transport is bound to censure Ubert Angelles (he can be an Angel) for flying helicopters at NSS without permission. And for healing the sick (in the name of Jesus) without a medical certificate.

    Indeed churches must make coontributions to ZPF and pray 4 a miracle in its governance

  • comment-avatar

    God moves in mysterious ways, especially the ‘god’ in the celebration centre who appears to extremely wealthy?

  • comment-avatar
    Roving Ambassador 8 years ago

    Coalition of the looters, ZANU and its charismatic churches.

  • comment-avatar

    Could that place soon be the ZPF headquarters?

  • comment-avatar
    Mixed Race 8 years ago

    Just one simple question.Why should a minister get involved in engineering decisions when he knows zero about structural engineering?These guys have over stayed that they fool themselves that they know everything on this planet earth.

  • comment-avatar
    henry 8 years ago

    Just another group looking for a backhand.

  • comment-avatar

    You see now! As a so called Christian nation we do not even KNOW what the ‘church’ truly is. the church is NOT a multi million dollar sumptious building. The church is NOT an organisation or a business. The church is spiritual: it is Jesus Christ the Head, it is Jesus Christ the Cornerstone; it is Jesus Christ the Foundation. The body is made up of living stones; the believers. Why do we waste millions of dollars with all our high flying manmade and worldly “church.’ That will not endure. The true church will.

  • comment-avatar
    Jono Austin 8 years ago

    Sprinkler system? Where’s the water going to come from?

    • comment-avatar
      Doris 8 years ago

      From the sewage that is now leaking across the wetlands. Go see. These smart arses have removed the covers to the sewage pipes, built a road over the top, and every so often sewage bubbles out and oozes into Harares main water supply!

  • comment-avatar
    Mixed Race 8 years ago

    @NBS-Well said and I want to share what I have seen as God’s furry taking place.A friend of a white farmer turned against him and took his farm and live stock but after about 8 years,this new land occupier experienced serious disaster within his family,that is his son was involved in an accident three years ago and he was left with paralysis from the neck downwards so they starting selling these cattle to pay for the various hospital and specialists charges,unfortunately the young son died a few weeks ago leaving them almost bankrupt.Our Almighty can answer prayers at his own time after we have lost hope.These people who make funny of our creator are stupid and full of unnecessary hatred and greediness.A true Christian will always treat a neighbour with respect regardless of his colour or race or tribe even if he comes from EU,AFRICA,ASIA,USA etc.Equally, it is important to agree and disagree when debating without involving hatred attitudes and lack of wisdom and common sense.

  • comment-avatar 8 years ago

    Why was the minister involved so directly? Where was Harare City Council’s engineering department? Projects that rope in politicians while ignoring technocrats always end up being exposed as shady deals (read corrupt practices).
    Imagine the plight of the 3000 or so worshippers who are blissfully unaware that their church building doesn’t meet rudimentary safety standards.
    Now Deacon Misheck Humure, any construction technology imported from the US, Europe or other parts of Africa must meet the building regulations of the municipality in which they are to be used. It is as simple as that. Cavorting with politicians will speed up processes to subvert the law, but will not make the building compliant with safety and municipal regulations.