Latest News Editor's Choice

News / Local

Date set for Egodini taxi rank reopening

by Staff reporter
23 Jan 2022 at 08:02hrs | Views
SOUTH African civil engineering firm Terracotta Trading Private Limited has said with its original set timelines, the Egodini Bus Terminus rehabilitation project is four months behind and they were now working round the clock so that the project gets back on track.

The project has over the years been subject to a number of false starts, delaying its completion which has seen, at some point, residents and councillors calling for the cancellation of the contract. Speaking on the sidelines of the tour of the project site on Friday, one Terracotta director, Mr Thulani Moyo said they appreciated the anxiety around the project, revealing that they were now working even during the weekends to ensure that by end of April they would have handed over a section of the site, which would be the taxi rank and vending bays.

According to the new timelines, the taxi rank roads are set to be completed by 25 March, taxi rank islands; 8 April, taxi rank steelworks; 22 April and the informal traders stalls are expected to have been completed by 29 April.

He said this was in response to concerns raised by stakeholders on the congestion that was being caused by commuter omnibuses in the Central Business District that were operating in temporary pickup and drop off points.

"We appreciate that people want this project completed as of yesterday which is why we are now working, even during the weekends so that we make up for lost time. The idea is that by April we have the taxis and vendors moving into the rank.

"The idea is to handover phase 1A, after which we will work on the other phases while at least having a part of the project operational, the reason being we have noted the inconvenience that has been caused by the temporary sites in the city," said Mr Moyo.

Questioned on the operations of the taxi rank and whether they will be collecting any revenue once they begin operations in April, Mr Moyo said all services will be free as they first want to ensure that they get as much foot traffic into the rank which will also help them attract more service providers to take up space at the larger complex.

"From the taxi rank, we won't be generating or collecting any revenue, in fact the taxi rank, with all that is happening, we want to make sure it operates correctly so that the public can then come and be able to use the taxi rank in a safe way.

Having done that, when the feet are going through the site, the tenants that then rent the shops will be the ones who will be willing to pay the rent because they will be seeing that there is a huge number of people who go through the site. When we did our market research, our traffic counts showed that there are between 30 000 to 40 000 people who go through the site during a normal day," said Mr Moyo.

He refuted claims that they were not taking the project seriously since they were based in South Africa hence continued closure of the bus terminus was not affecting them directly.

"We are people from Bulawayo, who are also doing projects in South Africa, however, Bulawayo remains our home hence we want to bring development to our home. That is why when this tender came out, we went out of our way to find other big similar minded developers in South Africa, like McCormick Property Development group, to come join us as we work towards uplifting our city and country.

"There might be a sentiment that all we want is to come and milk money from the city, which is not true at all. If you remember this deal is for us leasing land from council. Terracotta, at its own risk then invested its own money into the project, we are not being paid by anybody, and all this is investment of equity so far," he said.

In terms of investment, Mr Moyo revealed that they had already channelled close to US$5 million for all the work that had been done, noting that major works had gone towards the pipe work which they had to completely overhaul.

Commenting on the progress of the project, Bulawayo Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube said while they appreciated the challenges that have been faced by the developer over the years, they had since made it clear to them on the importance of meeting the set deadlines.

"As you might know this project has been problematic from the very beginning, but we have managed to bring everything together and now the project is back on course. Yes, as the managers of the project we are worried on the pace it has taken considering all the timelines that have been set by the developer. We are fully aware that a lot of people are fuming regarding this project, but what we can assure them is that we have spoken with the developer and made it clear that we need the timelines to be met," said Mr Dube.

The Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni said they were satisfied with the explanation for the slow progress, most of which is attributed to five months that were lost last year due to the unforeseen Covid-19 lockdowns and the problems encountered with the suppliers.

"What gives us relief is the fact that the developer has committed to a new timeline that will see phase 1A, which relates to the opening of the taxi rank, bus rank and informal traders stores by April 2022.

"Both parties have committed themselves to preserve the sanctity of the contract and the obligations therein, as you know council handed over the site in March 2020 and since January 2021, the developer has been on site doing civil and earth works, which are now 100 percent complete.

It's not a brick and mortar project. It's like we handed over virgin land to the developer and we are happy with the onsite infrastructure and service that have been connected," said Clr Mguni.

Source - The Sunday News
More on: #Date, #Egodini, #Rank