The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is considering introducing property insurance with residents expected to contribute a certain amount monthly towards a house insurance fund.
This comes as the local authority has been inundated with requests from residents to waiver fire service charges.
According to the latest council report, the city`s financial director Kimpton Ndimande suggested that the local authority revisit this idea that was proposed some years ago.
“It would seem the frequency of property fires is on the increase and the requests for waiver of the Fire Brigade fees are increasing proportionally.
“Council should therefore, revisit the idea of property insurance that was mooted a few years ago where residents in the city would contribute a small amount via the billing system towards a house insurance fund,” said Ndimande.
He highlighted every rate payer would be subjected to the fund.
“All rate payers would be subjected to this fund and the contributions would be a percentage of the payable owner’s rates, say 2%.
“That will mean ratepayers will contribute per the size of their properties. The fund will eliminate requests for waiver of Brigade charges as the Brigade will draw its expenses from that fund,” said Ndimande.
Due to load shedding and the onset of the winter season, fire incidents are likely to increase as residents resort to other energy sources such as liquified petroleum gas, paraffin and firewood among others.
Ndimamde said Council would also have to consider including the fire levy in next year’s budget.
“The issue of a fire levy hit a brick wall upon advice from the Attorney-General’s office that it is tantamount to compulsory insurance. It is however worth visiting when crafting the 2020 Budget”.
In the past, Council has, on humanitarian/compassionate grounds acceded to requests to write off Fire Brigade charges.
Contacted for a comment, Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (Bura) chairperson Winos Dube said the idea could be noble only if residents are consulted about it.
“Residents need to understand what the whole fund is all about. Will it cover everything in the house or walls only? Council needs to explain to the residents how it will work.
“This could be a noble idea at a time when a handful residents can insure their house due to the economic crisis,” said Dube.