Rejoyce Sibanda, Chronicle Reporter
Bulawayo City Council has said the Basch Street Bus Terminus, popularly known as Egodini, will be opened in mid-February this year for some informal traders and transporters as construction work progresses.
Terracotta Trading Private Limited (TTPL) won a tender for the project in 2015, but the developer suffered several construction false starts and missed completion deadlines as well.
The company also missed the December 1, 2022 deadline which it had set to open up a taxi rank and operating space for informal traders, under phase one of the project.
The Covid-19-induced lockdown further compounded the situation as the developer could not move on-site to commence works.
The complex is set to include a public transport and off-loading facility capable of handling 20 regional and cross-border buses as well as 75 minibus taxis at the same time.
The proposed plans to redevelop Egodini into a multi-million mall and regional transport hub resulted in the displacement of vendors and transporters who were operating at Basch Street Bus Terminus.
This has caused chaos and congestion in the city centre as transporters and vendors have occupied undesignated areas while shunning regulated ones.
The city’s town planning director, Mr Wisdom Siziba said the contractor had disclosed that over 500 bays are almost complete.
“The private developer gave us an update that the creation of 550 vending bays is almost done. Bulk earthworks for the whole facility are 100 percent complete. Moreover, bulk services like potable water supply, sewer, fire and internal communication systems have been connected,” said Mr Siziba.
He said people will start utilising the facility while the other phases of the project are being done.
The Town Planning Director added that shades for the local taxi rank are also in the progress of being fully installed.
TTPL’s construction of vending bays that are 1,5 metres by 90 centimetres against 1,5m by 2m has seen leaders of informal traders in November last year claiming that they are too small for their operations.
Residents have previously claimed that council was sold a dummy on the Egodini Mall Project although the contractor claimed the delays were a result of macro-economic challenges.
In July 2021, it emerged that the Egodini construction project cost was overstated at US$60 million as council and the contractor started giving different figures.
Since 2015, it was reported that the project would be done at an estimated cost of US$60 million.
However, the company contractor said it did not know were the US$60 million came from and put the actual cost at US$25 million.
Questions arose as to whether Bulawayo City Council was sold a dummy after the city’s chamber secretary Mrs Sikhangele Zhou said it was Terracotta that had actually submitted a US$60 million tender for the project. — @ReeSibanda.