COMMENT: BCC should learn from Gweru council

21 Jan, 2022 - 00:01 0 Views
COMMENT: BCC should learn from Gweru council

The Chronicle

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) will today host a tour and consultative brief on the Egodini Mall Project that has raised the ire of residents because no meaningful development has taken place since 2016 when the project started.

South African contractor and civil engineering firm Terracotta Trading (Private) Limited (TTPL), won the tender to upgrade Basch Street Terminus into a regional public transport hub in 2012 ahead of two other companies.

The project was said to cost $60 million and in March 2018 vendors and public transport operators were relocated to make way for the first phase of the project which was expected to be completed by November 2019.

Later, March 2020 was set as the new target before BCC set August 2020 as the new deadline to complete the first phase of the project.

The shifting deadlines and conflicting reports on the cost of the project from council and the contractor, have given rise to speculation and calls for the tender to be cancelled.

While we appreciate that this is a massive project that cannot be done overnight, BCC must today explain what progress has been made and give the contractor a final deadline.

The Egodini Mall Project has become a talk show and now risks being a white elephant.

Given, the Kudzanayi Long Distance Bus Terminus in Gweru is a much smaller project, but it is now complete and is working well for bus operators, vendors, travellers and council.

As we reported yesterday, various local authorities have been visiting Kudzanayi Long Distance Bus Terminus on look-and-learn visits.

The US$1,4 million project is a partnership between Gweru City Council (GCC) and a private company, Bentach Resources.

Already, GCC has received over $6 million in revenue collected by Bentach Resources at the long-distance bus terminus, which used to be run by barons, resulting in council being prejudiced of potential revenue.

President Mnangagwa commissioned the new-look Kudzanayi Long Distance Bus Terminus on December 13 and now, it can accommodate 800 vendors and over 100 buses per day.

A delegation from Manicaland Province led by the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Nokuthula Matsikenyeri, was first to visit the project and recently, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution responsible for Harare Metropolitan Province, Engineer Oliver Chidawu, led a team of management and councillors from Harare City Council and Ruwa Town Board on a similar visit.

It is without doubt that the Gweru terminus has attracted interest and is now a model for full optimisation of such spaces and revenue generation.

This is not to say BCC must downgrade the Egodini project from US$60 million to US$1,4 million, but the Gweru model can be used for other termini in the city.

A good example is Renkini Long Distance Bus Terminus, which is a maze of confusion.

This terminus is outdated and is in urgent need of a facelift.

The council tour today must not end at Egodini, but must visit Renkini – just a few metres away – to address the challenges there.

It is good to dream, and the Egodini Mall Project is a great dream waiting to become a reality.

But in the meantime, council should learn from Gweru and fix other termini.

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