Council property database on cards

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Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Correspondent

Harare City Council is compiling a register of all properties to ascertain their market value for purposes of charging accurate rates.

Further, the General Valuation Roll (GVR) will capture newly constructed properties, the improvements and subdivisions made in the last decade.

New suburbs and buildings have no market ratings.

Critically, if council fails to conduct the evaluation, it will not be able to levy ratepayers from next year, in line with the dictates of the law.

In terms of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15 section 247, local authorities are mandated to carry out a GVR for properties within their jurisdiction within specified periods.

City of Harare conducts a valuation roll every 20 years.

Council contracted GMP Real Estate and Global World Properties to undertake the GVR.

City spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme said the GVR process was underway.

“The process has already begun and it should happen after every 20 years. The teams have been deployed throughout the city,” he said.

City of Harare believes there have been lots of improvements and subdivisions of properties in the last decade which have not been captured on the valuation roll. Council, through the Finance Committee, approved the evaluation last year.

Teams from two estate agents contracted by council are visiting domestic and business premises to conduct the evaluation, and council is appealing to residents for cooperation.

But Zimbabwe National Organisation of Associations of Residents Trust chairman Mr Shepherd Chikomba expressed concern over the process.

“We are deeply saddened by your council’s actions and priorities at the expense of service delivery. Our question remains, what is the deliverable of this exercise, especially now that your resources are misplaced?” said the residents in a letter received and signed by the Chamber Secretary’s office.

“We thought as residents the more important issues you should address first included clean water (provision), availability of water to the entire northern suburbs of Harare, refuse collection, billing system for 100 percent collection of revenue, roads network, grass in major roads and robots needs maintenance.”

A social media user identified as Kristi-lee Landrey said: “The money it will take you to drive around to all the houses in the country conducting pointless valuations that are to be quite honest quite worrying, is the same amount of money it would take to fix some roads and provide access to clean water in high density areas. Instead you want to prowl around people’s homes and see what there is to be stolen. Absolutely not.”

The contracted companies will be visiting properties to inspect and measure improvements, take photos and may ask questions pertaining to the property and its ownership.