The Blantyre City Assembly (BCC), through the Red Star Campaign, has earmarked 161 buildings for demolition in central business districts of Limbe and Blantyre.
This follows a verification exercise the taskforce for the Red Star Campaign carried out between June 29 and July 10 this year in the said areas.
Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, Deputy Mayor of Blantyre Wild Ndipo, who is also the chair for the Main Committee on Urban Renewal (Red Star Campain) in the city, said the taskforce assessed all the buildings in the main streets of both Limbe and Blantyre and recommended for the demolition of some of the buildings.
The task force, which was also mandated to come up with clear terms of reference for the execution of the project, is being chaired by Architect Steve Musopole of the Polytechnic, constituent college of the University of Malawi and his deputy is Engineer Dr Ignatious Ngoma of the Malawi Institute of Engineers.
“The Taskforce assessed 191 properties in Limbe and out of this 87 were recommended for demolition representing a whopping 46%. Blantyre has 189 properties and 74 were found wanting and have to be demolished, representing 39%.
“You will note that these figures are alarming and it only underscores the point that most of the properties in our Cities leaves a lot to be desired. We cannot afford to give a blind eye to such statistics but take action to make our cities look good,” said Ndipo.
The verification exercise, according to him, involved literally walking from building to building to assess and get other relevant information from the tenants and owners of the buildings.
The Deputy Mayor also said as way of sending strong signals to all business operators, the Council will red-star the earmarked buildings from October 19 and that owners will be notified by close of business Friday, October 9.
“Letters will be dispatched immediately after this meeting to owners of the premises advising them of the course of action that they need to undertake and they are asked to respond in writing by October 30, 2015 advising the Council on how they intend to carry out this exercise.
“The Taskforce will be back on the ground from 19 – 24 October 2015 to supervise the painting of all buildings earmarked for demolition with a red star so as to send strong signals to all business operators and or users of the importance of this exercise,” he explained.
He further said the taskforce will also meet to come up with clear demolition guidelines so as to cause less inconvenience for the neighbouring properties and business operators around the earmarked buildings.
“It is expected that new building plans for the properties to be demolished shall start flooding our offices in January 2016 and that the demolition exercise shall start by March 1, 2016 after the expiry of 6 months period.
“You will realize that there is still a lot of work to be done but we are more than determined especially with the strong foundation that we have laid and it gives us hope for the success of this project,” said Ndipo.
The Red Star Campaign was initially revived by President Peter Mutharika following his whistle stop tour of the two CBDs of Limbe and Blantyre in February this year.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :