Three Harare City Council beer halls were allegedly sold without following proper procedure, amid reports authority to sell was never confirmed.
The council’s acting finance director verbally told a committee dealing with the properties (formerly Rufaro Marketing Properties) that the beer halls were sold based on an internal valuation.
Normally, such issues are first discussed by the business committee, finance and development committee and others before proceeding to a full council meeting for adoption or disapproval.
A report of the special committee on Rufaro Marketing dated 29 June 2022 revealed that former and current council employees were subletting the council beer halls in foreign currency, yet they were struggling to pay rentals in local currency to the city.
Rufaro Marketing was originally a department within the City of Harare, under the City Marketing Department, but was registered as a private limited company in April 1990 and it is wholly owned by the council.
“In his verbal submission to the Committee, the acting Finance Director revealed that outlets at Chitubu, Nenyere and Island Bar had been sold based on an internal valuation. Authority for the sale was not confirmed,” reads the report.
“Some tenants have sublet portions of the outlet mainly to informal traders and small businesses, a segment that Rufaro Marketing should be targeting on its own account.”
According to the report, the committee’s overall impression is that the assets under the control of Rufaro Marketing are not achieving an acceptable return and the beer outlets are not attractive to today’s patrons compared to the past.
“The committee noted significant underutilization of the vast land, housing the outlets and while sub economic rentals are being realized there is widespread subletting to stalls at multiple rentals, some of which were mind boggling,” reads the report.
“The level of debtors as at 31 December 2019 and the overall rentals charged by Rufaro Marketing can only mean that facilities will continue to deteriorate unless hard decisions are taken on the tenants and quality of business undertaken on the outlets.”