Zimbabwe News

Harare City Council plans to close condemned buildings

The City of Harare has announced that it will commence the closure of dilapidated public buildings within the city this week. These structures have been deemed unfit for occupation.

According to The Sunday Mail, in April 2024, more than 200 buildings, including about 14 tall ones in and around Harare’s central business district, were considered unsafe for occupation.

This followed an inspection by council officials who identified properties with poor ventilation, a lack of emergency exits, and signs of general decay.

The city council then issued the building owners with abatement orders directing them to urgently repair their properties or risk their closure.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Harare City Council town clerk Hosiah Chisango said:

As of June 1, all the buildings that did not comply (with the orders) will be locked up because we gave them enough grace period to bring through their plans.

If someone fails to use the six-week grace period to spruce up their properties, they will be locked up.

Now, we are going on the ground to tell them that we gave them enough time. This means those licences that are issued by the City Health Department… are not going to be issued until they comply.

Last month, the Harare City Council issued 233 abatement orders to owners of the buildings.

An abatement order is a legal document issued by a government agency or authorised body to address a building nuisance or violation. It requires the recipient to take specific corrective measures.

For instance, a noise abatement order might be issued by a local council against a noisy nightclub, requiring them to reduce the noise within a specified timeframe. Said Chisango:

We started issuing abatement orders on April 11, 2024, through to the end of the month.

After we have finished, we are now going into the second phase, where we will not be negotiating because enough grace period was granted to the owners of the buildings.

The second phase, which we are about to commence, is when we go on the ground and check how many have or haven’t complied. We will then lock up those that haven’t complied…

With 233 abatement orders issued, around 30 per cent have complied and have started working on their buildings.

14 properties, including Mahachi Building, Vivandelphi Court, Stewarts & Lloyds, Dublin House, Msasa House, Bush House, Roslin House, Daventry House and Robin House, were recently deemed unfit for use.

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