Factcheck: Bulawayo City Council is not repossessing houses

The Claim: Claim: A message circulating on WhatsApp claimed that Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is repossessing houses.
The Verdict: claim verdict

Claim: A message circulating on WhatsApp claimed that Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is repossessing houses.

“Zihlobo zami to those that are living in Family houses make it a point to go and check with the BCC offices ukuthi the title deeds and everything is in order, houses are being repossessed kuthwa ziyathathwa yi state. Especially emalokitshini amadala abanye bahlezi ezindlini okuthiwa yayi ngeka Gogo or uKhokho leyondlu kuthwa people need to go change amagama befake abantu abasaphilayo. Kuthwa into ekhona umuntu angatshona people are given 6 weeks to visit the offices ukuthi balungise ama paper ama phepha Engikutshoyo nje asiqapheleni singalahlekelwa just cross check ama title deeds kuma family houses especially ma abazali or ogogo ababengabanikazi sebadlula emhlabeni,” read the claim.

It added, “According to the info I had… Bathi the operation has started eMakhokhoba. Dlulisela kwamanye ama group mhlawumbe abanye bengasizakala..”

Verdict: False.

In a statement, BCC Town Clerk Christopher Dube advised the public that messages circulating on social media purporting that the Council is repossessing houses are not true.

“The City of Bulawayo is urging residents, stakeholders and members of the public to disregard these messages,” he said.

Dube said the City of Bulawayo is not aware of this operation and wishes to highlight that each property is unique in terms of its ownership history therefore there cannot be a blanket action.

“Housing administration is governed by Council policies, legislation and Court Orders to ensure the security of tenure and property rights. Residents are requested to seek clarification with the responsible authorities before disseminating information to the public that they are not sure of” he said.

Dube also clarified that the leasehold properties are not inherited.

“As such, they should take homeownership schemes which most suburbs can now convert to. In the event of death for the leaseholder, those in occupancy do not automatically inherit the property by operation of law but should make a strong case to be considered as new leaseholders,” he said.

“If the property already has title deeds, any change of ownership is done through Legal Practitioners who act as Conveyancers using the Registrar of Deeds Office. Where an owner of a freehold property dies, the ownership can only change through the Courts in terms of the Deceased Estate Act.”

Dube said, as such, the City of Bulawayo would like to expressly indicate that the information being circulated is false and repudiated in the strongest terms.

“Council has clear policies on repossession of stands or rented properties. If repossessions are done, they are in terms of the laws of the country. Any clarifications concerning housing administration issues can be done at any of the City’s twelve (12) Housing Offices including the Third Floor, Tower Block, and Municipal Offices,” he said.

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