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Egodini mall first phase deadline deferred

by Staff reporter
28 May 2022 at 08:51hrs | Views
THE completion of Bulawayo's Egodini Mall Phase 1A project, which covers taxi and bus rank upgrade as well as informal trading stores, has been deferred to August this year after missing the April 2022 deadline.

The contractor, Terracotta Trading (Pvt) Limited, has attributed the delay to procurement bottlenecks and slow concrete mixing process due to absence of an adequate equipment service provider locally.

The city does not have any concrete batching plant service provider to match the massive stature of the project and Terracotta says it has resorted to using small concrete mixers, which take a long time to complete a big project.

Despite public criticism over delays in completing the project amid concerns over traffic congestion in the city centre following closure of Egodini terminus in recent years, Terracotta says significant project has been done to date.

(Top picture): Terracotta investor Mr Jason McCormick chats with Deputy Mayor Councillor Mlandu Ncube while Bulawayo Town Christopher Dube and Bulawayo PDC Paul Nyoni look on during a tour of Egodini project yesterday (Above picture) Terracotta investors take a tour of Egodini Mall project

South African-headquartered contractor was awarded tender to upgrade the former Egodini terminus in 2016 but the project suffered several false starts in its initial stages.

The company has been recently engaged in full swing construction works having so far completed key planning and approvals, site clearing, bulk earthworks and civil installations and is now engaged in top structure building.

Yesterday representatives of Terracotta shareholders, senior council executives, councillors and journalists conducted a tour of the project and was shown some of the progress achieved.

Bricklaying works on the 1 200 informal trading stalls is underway while engineers are set to commence taxi rank infrastructure installation following delivery of the first consignment of bulk steel material as well as building of ablution facilities.

The project is being implemented with involvement of local companies and some from South Africa.

"We took a little bit of time looking and resolving the issue of the base layers, we played around with a few formulas, remember we want to make sure whatever we have here lasts for a very long time," said Mr Thulani Moyo, one of the directors in charge of the project.

"The other challenge was the procurement of import component such as steel and it's a challenge even in South Africa.

"Moving forward what is a challenge is the speed at which concrete can be mixed and poured, there is no concrete batching plant in Bulawayo and the option would be to hire one from Harare or source it from South Africa."

Mr Moyo admitted they have missed the targeted April deadline but said such a phenomenon was common in construction operations as estimated deadlines are subject to review depending on challenges encountered.

"What we originally wanted to do was to be able to finish the taxi rank and informal trading stalls almost simultaneously (in April)," he said.

"However, as you can see our major challenge is with mixing of concrete and so what we will be doing is that we will be finishing some of these as we go but to finish all the 1 200 stalls might happen sometime towards the end of August, depending on how fast we are mixing the concrete."

One of the senior shareholders, Mr Jason McCormick, said the contractor was technically ready to complete the project, indicating that the taxi rank infrastructure was set to be completed first as it makes commercial sense to open the facility for the commuting public first, which will pave way for traders.

"We are getting to a point where the project is creating opportunity for a lot of people in terms of jobs and supplies," he said.

However, before the facility is open to the public, Mr Moyo said relevant inspections and certifications will be done by the local authority to ensure adherence to standards and safety.

Commenting, Bulawayo town clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, said: "First and foremost, the project is very much behind schedule, but from the explanations that we have been given, and in terms of the project procedures from time to time we are briefed as a local authority on the challenges that are there.

"If we are convinced for sure that the challenges are there and they are realistic, we do understand it."

From the look of things and from what the update given by the contractor, Mr Dube said what was realistic was that the taxi rank and informal trading sites would be operational by August.

"If you look at what they are saying, probably what is realistic could be end of July or August.

Let's give them something that is possible and not just say tomorrow because we will have many explanations to make.

So, realistically let's look at this thing starting operating by end of August," he said.

Deputy Mayor, Councillor Mlandu Ncube urged residents to be patient saying the contractor was already engaged in ensuring the projects succeeds.

"We must not be in an attitude of just stopping business but let's give them the opportunity to deliver," he said.

"We all know how the economic situation is like vis-à-vis this massive construction project and we ask Bulawayo residents to be patient as they have been patient.

"But from the look of things, we will be having buses and informal traders here before the end of the year."

Source - The Chronicle