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Egodini Phase 1A complete, to reopen soon

by Staff reporter
24 Jan 2024 at 04:50hrs | Views
BULAWAYO residents will soon be able to access Egodini, the city's largest transport and trading hub, which has been closed for eight years due to a stalled redevelopment project.

The project, which started in 2016, is expected to partially open in the second week of February, following the completion of Phase 1A.

Phase 1A of the project will accommodate 400 vendors and several commuter omnibuses, which will ease the congestion in the city centre.

The vendors and public transporters were relocated from Egodini in 2016 to make way for the project, which was supposed to create a modern complex with 750 informal trader stalls, a flea market, and a public transport and off-loading facility for regional and cross-border buses and minibus taxis.

Bulawayo Mayor Councillor David Coltart said the council was working on ensuring that the interested vendors who had applied to use the vending bays complete agreements with the contractor.

He said the construction of an additional 800 vending stalls was underway, as there was high demand for the space.

"We have about 5 000 illegal vendors around Bulawayo and the completed Phase 1A will help us deal with at least 10 percent of that problem as only 400 stands are ready.

These will make a significant change and we hope that taxis that are blocking 6th Avenue will be allowed to operate from Egodini as well," he said.

Clr Coltart said the council was working on vetting the vendors who had applied for the vending bays, and hoped that they would sign agreements with the contractor by the second week of February when Egodini will be opened.

He said he was happy that the project was almost ready to be partially opened for the public, although he acknowledged that there had been serious delays spanning over years.

"From our end, we applaud the council for the work that has been done, but we also regret the delays that have affected the project. I am happy that some kombis and vendors will be able to utilise the completed Phase 1A, which will help decongest the central business district. We hope the partial opening will solve the recurrent kombi and vending issues in Bulawayo, especially in the wake of cholera outbreaks, which means we must be vigilant to ensure nothing puts us at risk," he said.

He added that the project would only be fully completed by the end of the year and that the council would then be able to enforce by-laws and licensing issues more effectively.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents' Association executive director Mrs Permanent Ngoma said residents were happy with the progress but also demanded accountability for the funds injected into the project. She said the project had cost $60 million, and the residents needed feedback on how much had been used and on what.

"As Bulawayo residents, we are happy with the current development that finally this project is showing direction and improvement for us to benefit. We are however concerned because it took eight years to get here and $60 million was injected into this project. As residents, we need that feedback on how much has been used and on what," said Mrs Ngoma.

"We also feel there is politicisation of issuing the vending bays outside city council systems since we hear vendors are being charged US$57 for a stand which is steep for ordinary citizens.

"There is little knowledge on what interested vendors should do and we thereby ask that there be transparency in the allocating of bays so that all residents can equally benefit," she added.

Source - The Chronicle
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