14 November 2012

Zimbabwe: City Urged to Rent Out Properties

Harare City should quickly convert its 14 000 properties into a real estate business that helps generate funds. This was part of the recommendations contained in the investigation report on council tenders, allocation of space for car sales and outdoor advertising. Mrs Ellen Chivaviro, who chaired the probe team, presented her findings to Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo on Monday.

She said Clr Thomas Muzuva made the suggestion during the team's information gathering.

The properties include houses, shops and industrial complexes.

"Council needs to float a public tender to have its commercial, industrial and residential properties valued by a professional valuer and then float tenders so that such properties are managed professionally," she said.

She said the business would generate much-needed funds.

Rufaro Marketing, which has ceased to be a once-vibrant beer selling entity, ventured into real estate and is also interested in managing the properties.

Some city managers stay in council properties because of low rentals and rent out their mansions in the city's leafy suburbs. Others even sub-let their allocations to third parties.

Management and councillors always complain of poor revenue inflows and lack of viable projects to raise funding.

Each time the city wants additional funding it either raises rates and supplementary charges or borrows from the banks.

Funds borrowed from banks are paid back by residents.

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