Harare City Council is considering establishing a real estate company will manage and add value to its properties as it seeks to get real value.
The local authority is also considering introducing the position of housing manager who will be responsible for all housing issues.
The proposed changes were recommended by a special investigation committee that recently assessed the state of council’s rented accommodation and commercial buildings.
Vice chairperson of the committee, ward 16 councillor Denford Ngadziore yesterday said the recommendations were aimed at ensuring that council realises real value from its properties.
“Right now council does not know the actual value of its buildings. Again the issue of maintenance and renovations of council buildings needs to be handled by a real estate company,” he said.
On the need to have a senior post in the Housing Department, Councillor Ngadziore said there was need for someone focused on housing only.
“People in the housing department are focusing more on allocation, but forgetting development. That is why we have many illegal settlers or people illegally being allocated land, with most going for 10 years without developing their stands,” he said.
Clr Ngadziore said the recommendation dovetailed with council’s plans to introduce modern smart housing units under its smart city concept.
Harare Residents Trust director Mr Precious Shumba said renaming office positions was not the solution.
“The solution lies in the Harare City Council enforcing its rules and regulations in a transparent and accountable manner. They have all that they need to end corruption,” he said.
“Changing people and redesigning office positions is meaningless unless accompanied by absolute powers to deal with corruption and misuse of council resources.”
The council recently contracted GMP Real Estate and Global World Properties to compile a register of all properties in the city to ascertain their market values for rating purposes as it risks failing to levy ratepayers by next year.
Further, the general valuation roll will capture newly-constructed properties, improvements and subdivisions of properties that took place in Harare over the past decade to ascertain their correct market value.
In terms of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15 section 247, local authorities are mandated to carry out a valuation roll of properties within their jurisdiction within a specified period of time.
A valuation roll is used to determine how council charges rates, with properties in well-established and sought-after neighbourhoods being valued higher than those in less affluent areas due to factors such as location, service provision and crime prevalence.–herald.cl.zw