Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Correspondent—
THE multi-million dollar Egodini Shopping Mall project was launched in Bulawayo yesterday and construction is set to start in two months’ time in a development that will create employment for city residents. Bulawayo City Council (BCC) and Terracotta Trading Private Limited (TTPL) officials held a joint press conference where they spoke about the project’s planned take-off following its launch in council chambers.
Councillors, residents, the business community among other interested players witnessed the launch. TTPL director John McCormick said the $60 million project would be undertaken in three phases and create more than 1,000 jobs during the construction period.
He said TTPL is fully funding the project and will only hand over the mall to the BCC after it recoups its investment. McCormick said the project would be completed in two-and-a-half years.
He said they are yet to conduct an environmental impact assessment among other consultancy work. McCormick said they would employ Bulawayo residents as they do not want to cause unnecessary rifts locally.
Another TTPL director, Ottis Tshabalala, said once council relocates kombi crews and vendors, construction would start.
“We’re working with council to get into the actual development of the project. We need to obviously relocate taxis to the venues identified by council. Once that’s done we will be ready to commence. There’s a time factor and we need to work in close association with taxis,” said Tshabalala.
BCC acting Town Clerk Sikhangele Zhou said they would only relocate vendors and public transporters after the contractor moves on site.
“We had already sensitised them to the possibility of the move. We were waiting for these formalities to happen. We think all things being equal in a month or two we would’ve moved them depending on other things they (Terracotta) said they are still doing. We don’t want to move them and leave Egodini without any activity. Once the developer puts up things that need to be put together we will move them,” said Zhou.
She said during construction of the mall, commuter omnibuses would be stationed outside the Central Business District and would only come into the city to ferry passengers.
Zhou said some pickup points that had been identified include Lobengula Street and 2nd Avenue, Lobengula Street and 3rd Avenue and Lobengula Street and 12th Avenue.
The acting Mayor, Councillor Gift Banda, said delays in commencement were caused by the magnitude of the project.
He said the tendering of Egodini Shopping Complex started at the end of 2011 and since then they have been engaging the winners TTPL on the best way to implement the project. Meanwhile, Bulawayo residents were happy with the launch.
Bulawayo Vendors and Traders’ Association chairperson Thabang Nare expressed satisfaction that vendors were going to be catered for under the new complex.
“From the presentation by Terracotta, we’re impressed by their attempt to include vendors in their designs. The vending bays they’re proposing will solve some of the problems that are being faced by vendors of unpacking and packing their wares on a daily basis,” said Nare.
Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (BURA) chairperson Winos Dube said the project gave hope to the unemployed through job creation.