Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council has resolved to hand over the $60 million Egodini Mall project site to the contractor, Terracotta Private Limited, at the end of next month, with construction work expected to start within 30 days after the hand-over.
Terraccotta, a South African civil engineering firm, won the tender for the project but has had a number of false starts which has seen the project failing to commence for close to five years after it was approved.
The firm won the tender ahead of two other local companies to upgrade the terminus, a project that is expected to gobble close to $60 million.
The agreement reached by city fathers on Wednesday comes after the finance committee chairperson, who is also Ward 16 Councillor, Nephat Sibanda, moved a motion urging the local authority to cancel the tender due to failure by the contractor to implement the project on time.
In his motion, Clr Sibanda argued that Terraccotta does not have the capacity hence the tender must be cancelled.
Bulawayo Mayor, Clr Martin Moyo, said the motion to cancel the tender had not been adopted.
“I’m advised that it’s possible for us to meet the end of January deadline to hand over the project site to Terracotta. This is an internal timeline.
“According to the contract, Terracotta starts on the day the site is handed over to them. Therefore the recommendation of the finance committee to cancel the tender is not adopted,” said Clr Moyo.
Deputy Mayor, Clr Gift Banda said: “I’m not supporting cancellation of the tender but as council let’s have timeframes to help us to speed up our projects and deliver. We shouldn’t take too long to implement our projects.
“Open ended agreements will make us take several years to implement our projects.”
Ward 23 Clr Gideon Mangena agreed with Clr Banda, saying a lot of factors have to be considered before cancelling the tender.
“Council has to blame because it’s yet to compensate the vendors that will be moved from the project site, which is part of the agreement,” said Clr Mangena.
Ward 28 Clr Collet Ndlovu proposed that the project site be handed over at the end of January, saying residents were looking forward to the commencement of the project.
“This is a Bulawayo project and residents are looking up to us to make sure that we work towards the successful implementation of the Egodini Mall. If we want to be taken seriously by the community we need to make sure that this project becomes a reality,” said Clr Ndlovu.
About 1 100 informal traders and 2 000 public transport operators make a living from operating at Egodini. With limited alternative economic opportunities, Terracotta said it was important that implementation of the project prevents prolonged disruptions to commercial activities.
Council proposed the temporary relocation of informal traders and public transport operators to other sites during the construction period.—@pamelashumba1