High default rate worries Francistown council

Kabelo Dipholo
TALKING TOUGH: Mayor Radisigo (inset)

The Francistown City Council (FCC) is concerned about the low response rate of residents to the initiatives of the Self-Help Housing Agency (SHHA).

During his final round of kgotla meetings that commenced on January 31st and addressed to the people of Gerald, Francistown Mayor Godisang Radisigo expressed worry about the prevalent negative attitude, especially towards home improvement projects aimed at extension, completion, and renovation of existing structures using Home Improvement Loans.

Moreover, Mayor Radisigo disclosed that the council is witnessing high default rates on service levies, SHHA loans, and arrears by plot holders.

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“We have noticed that some individuals allocated SHHA plots have yet to develop them, potentially leading to repossession of these plots,” cautioned the Mayor.

Radisigo also highlighted concerns about potential illegal activities, such as waste dumping, on these unattended plots. He emphasized that abandoned and deteriorating structures within the city have become havens for criminal activities and other undesirable behaviors.

According to the 2022 Population Census, Francistown boasts a total population of 103,417, comprising 53,770 females and 49,647 males, representing 22.8 percent of Botswana’s urban population.

Given this significant number of residents, Mayor Radisigo stressed the importance of better planning for residential areas in the city.

“The community must obtain planning and building permission before commencing any development on their plots to ensure compliance with building construction regulations and standards outlined in the Building Control Code (2013). Non-compliance is punishable by law,” he stated.

He further urged residents to display their plot numbers prominently to facilitate identification by medical, firefighting, law enforcement, and rescue personnel.

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Radisigo informed the Gerald community that the council is currently revising the Francistown Development Plan, Local Economic Development (LED) Strategy, and Urban Development Plan.

In conclusion, the Mayor appealed to residents to fulfill their rate payments, emphasizing their crucial role as a significant revenue source for the council.

“Rates contribute 32 percent of the anticipated P44 million revenue from the council’s own sources. The current rate contribution stands at approximately P15 million, while rates debtors have accumulated to P100,943,297.12, owed by 12,306 plot owners,” he disclosed.

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