THE Affirmative Action Group (AAG) has threatened to block financial institutions from auctioning properties owned by Bulawayo businesspeople tomorrow, saying the move was unjustified considering the current harsh economic climate.
In an interview with Southern Eye yesterday, AAG national vice-president Sam Ncube said his organisation would stop the auction, including the sale of 20 residential houses as banks move to recover money they are owed by various companies and individuals in the city.
“As AAG, we have taken a position to stop the auctioning of people’s properties by banks,” Ncube said.
“This Friday there will be blood on the floor. We are stopping the auction; there are no two ways about that. We have done that before and succeeded,” he added.
Bulawayo Real Estate on Monday flighted an advert in the local Press indicating that 20 houses and other properties would go under the hammer tomorrow as banks move to recover their money.
Four of the houses are owned by local businessman Delma Lupepe.
The banks include Ecobank Zimabwe (formely Premier Banking Corporation), MBCA Bank and Interfin Merchant Bank. The financial institutions attached the properties to recover an undisclosed amount owed by his company, Merspin Limited.
Lupepe has blamed the failure by his company to repay the loans on inflated rates being charged by the banks, which he said were as high as 500%.
Ncube said banks were abusing clients and they should not be allowed to auction any property as business, especially in Bulawayo, was in distress and not in a position to finance the debt.
“Most of the banks are attaching properties only for the inflated interests not the principal amount borrowed. We cannot allow that to continue happening,” he said.
Ncube also lost his house in the leafy suburb of Selbourne Park last month after it was auctioned for $60 000 to recover an undisclosed debt he owed POSB.
AAG Matabeleland chapter secretary-general Clement Malaba confirmed the move by the business lobby group to block tomorrow’s auction, adding that the move by the banks was unreasonable and should be challenged.
The AAG Bulawayo branch has been calling for a moratorium on litigation against businesspeople battling to pay rentals and other utilities in the city.
It argued that litigations themselves have become big business and were negatively impacting on Bulawayo’s economy.