Yeukai Karengezeka Municipal Correspondent
Harare City Council has partnered its municipal police as part of its strategy to recover over $6,9 million it is owed for its properties in the central business district.
According to recent minutes of the finance and development committee, the finance department and police will major on taking measures against non-paying business premises, especially operating shops, illegal structures and car sales.
“The department has to give notices to premises for non-compliance and upon expiry of notices, the department will then avail its locking system and close the aforementioned premises,” reads the minutes.
“Harare Metropolitan Police will render security during this process to ensure that there will be no hindrances or casualties.
“On illegal structures, upon expiry of notices, the division has to source from relevant departments, machinery and equipment to use during demolitions and evictions.
“Our core duty as police would be monitoring the exercise, record the number of structures demolished, record exhibits confiscated and monitor the transportation if the owners of the confiscated valuables fail to redeem their wares. Auctioning of those will be done as per required standard, thereby making council realise revenue.”
Acting council finance director Mr Stanley Ndemera said the city had accumulative lease rental arrears amounting to $6 936 766, including car sales register, as well as other properties.
Among other strategies to recover the debt, the committee resolved there should be enforcement of all by-laws for the relevant council enforcement agencies as detailed in the memorandum from the Harare Metropolitan Police.
“Relevant legal processes, which include issuance of summons of eviction, as well as warrants of ejectment and execution thereof, among other things, (will) be undertaken towards all leases which are in arrears, amounting to a minimum of $1 500,” reads the minutes.
“Where possible, sub-tenants with capacity to pay such lease rentals for such council properties (will) be regularised.”
The committee highlighted that there was need for the town clerk to ensure that the exercise was sustained until the lease management issues were addressed, with the projected lease rentals revenues being achieved.