Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
AN official contact centre will next month be established near the Basch Street Terminus in Bulawayo to cater for job seekers who wish to work on the construction of the Egodini Mall.
The contractor of the mall, Terracotta, yesterday finally occupied the site to commence construction, with all the commuter omnibus operators and informal traders having vacated the area.
The project is expected to create over 1 500 jobs for Bulawayo residents and subcontract local companies for various services.
The Bulawayo City Council senior public relations officer, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu, yesterday said the contact centre will go a long way in protecting job seekers from bogus employers.
“We don’t want a situation where dubious people will take advantage of the project and swindle job seekers of their money in the pretext that they’ll secure jobs for them here.
“An official call centre will therefore be open to the public on April 1, where job seekers and service providers can drop their papers and access all the official information they need about the project,” said Mrs Mpofu.
In 2016 Bulawayo Mayor Martin Moyo castigated councillors who were allegedly demanding money from residents and promising to secure jobs for them when construction of the Egodini Mall begins.
Job seekers had reported to the mayor that some councillors were demanding up to $50 per head from job seekers.
The social media has also been awash with messages calling for applications from job seekers.
Meanwhile, Terracotta and Bulawayo City Council officials toured the empty site yesterday to start preparations for the project.
Mrs Mpofu said yesterday’s meeting at the site was to plan the commencement of the construction and secure the area.
“Terracotta is ready to start the construction and our officials from various departments are working with them. We’re happy that the construction project has finally commenced.
“Security details will be deployed here to make sure that there are no disturbances. The new pick-up points in the different areas have been well received by commuter omnibus operators,” said Mrs Mpofu.
She said operations to remove commuter omnibus operators from undesignated pick up points will continue, as the council tries to restore order in the city.
She also urged commuter omnibus operators to join associations that are working with the city council so that there is smooth communication and better transport services in the city.
“We want order in the city and we want to see public transport services improving. Commuter omnibus operators are therefore encouraged to join at least one of the associations that work with the council so that we operate in a professional way.
“We have a public transport policy that requires transport operators to join at least one association that is recognised by the city council so that we improve public transport services in the city,” said Mrs Mpofu.
Mr Thabani Moyo from Terracotta said he was excited that the construction project was finally starting, adding that the first phase of the project will take 15 months to complete.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for. We’re excited that the time to start the construction of the mall has finally come. We’ve come a long way and we appreciate the support we’ve received from the city council and various stakeholders.
“The project will be constructed in three phases and the first phase will be complete in 15 months,” said Mr Moyo.
The South African civil engineering firm won the tender for the $60 million 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.