Harare’s Ultimatum: Revamp Buildings Now or Face Action

2-Week Notice to Renew CBD Structures, Improve City Aesthetics

by Oluwatosin Alabi

In a move aimed at revitalizing the Central Business District (CBD) and surrounding areas, the City of Harare has launched a rigorous campaign to address the issue of dilapidated buildings that mar the city’s landscape. Property owners and occupants have been served with a two-week ultimatum to either repair, refurbish, or repaint their buildings to meet the standards set forth in the Model Building By-Laws of 1977.

This directive, rooted in Section 49 (1) of Chapter 2 of these By-Laws, is not just a mere request but a mandatory action that property owners must undertake. The law is clear in its intent: no individual shall allow their buildings to deteriorate to the point where they become a health hazard, source of pollution, an eyesore, or in any way offensive to the community. This stance by the City of Harare, articulated by City Council Town Clerk Hosiah Chisango, is a reflection of the administration’s commitment to ensuring the health, safety, and aesthetic appeal of the urban environment.

The enforcement of these By-Laws is critical. Buildings that are neglected not only detract from the city’s beauty but can pose serious health risks and diminish the quality of life for all residents. The directive also underscores the importance of maintaining buildings in a state that is respectful of the urban landscape and its inhabitants. Property owners found in violation of these standards face the possibility of further enforcement measures, which may include legal actions as stipulated by Section 56 (subsections 1-6) of the By-Laws.

This initiative is part of a broader vision to rejuvenate Harare, transforming it into a city that both residents and visitors can take pride in. It aims to ensure that buildings not only serve their functional purpose but also contribute positively to the cityscape. The compliance with this directive is expected to lead to a significant upliftment of the city’s aesthetic, enhancing the urban environment for business, residential, and recreational purposes.

Property owners and occupants are therefore called upon to act swiftly in renewing their buildings. Those unable or unwilling to comply within the given timeframe have the option to submit written representations to the Director of Works, highlighting their concerns or plans for compliance. This provision allows for a degree of flexibility and dialogue between the city authorities and property owners, ensuring that the process is fair and considers individual circumstances.

This crackdown on dilapidated buildings is a clear message from the City of Harare that the maintenance of urban infrastructure is a shared responsibility. It is an invitation to all stakeholders to participate in the collective effort of beautifying the city, making it a safer, more attractive, and more welcoming place for everyone.

Furthermore, the City of Harare’s initiative reflects a larger trend among cities globally to address urban decay and promote sustainable development. By enforcing these By-Laws, Harare positions itself as a city committed to progress and environmental responsibility. The success of this campaign could serve as a model for other cities facing similar challenges, showcasing the importance of regulatory enforcement in urban renewal efforts.

In conclusion, the City of Harare’s ultimatum to property owners is a decisive step towards revitalizing the city’s urban landscape. By enforcing the Model Building By-Laws, the city not only aims to eliminate health hazards and eyesores but also to foster a sense of pride and community among its residents. This initiative is a testament to the city’s commitment to creating a vibrant, safe, and beautiful urban environment for current and future generations. It is a call to action for all property owners to contribute to the city’s transformation and to uphold the standards that make Harare a place worth living in and visiting.

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