BY Richard Muponde

HARARE City Council has threatened to forcibly acquire neglected and dilapidated buildings which are posing a threat to human life.

Mayor Herbert Gomba said the Urban Council’s Act empowers the local authority to take such drastic measures for the safety of residents and to maintain high standards.

“We gave them notices to renovate their buildings. Some of them have not responded. However, in the next full council meeting, I will raise the issue for council to take action. The Urban Councils Act empowers us to acquire the buildings,” he said.

Gomba said council would again notify the building owners of the new position so that they are not caught unawares.

“If they do not take action, we will give them an ultimatum. After that, we will acquire the buildings so that they become council properties. So my message to these landlords is for them to renovate their structures to make them safe for our people and conform to the city by-laws which govern administration of buildings in the city,” Gomba said.

Laxity and poor enforcement of by-laws by council’s inspectorate department has seen companies operating from dilapidated buildings, posing a health hazard to residents.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year expressed concern over the state of some city structures, saying council should invoke the city by-laws to ensure the buildings are spruced up to meet the expected standards.