Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Traders shun Egodini, decry exorbitant user fees

by Staff reporter
07 Feb 2024 at 04:42hrs | Views
TWO days after the opening of the upgraded Egodini Terminus in Bulawayo, traders and commuters are yet to move to the facility amid revelations that vendors want a reduction of the proposed US$90 monthly fee that is being charged by the contractor.

Although some commuter omnibus operators had moved to the new-look taxi rank on Monday, only a few were parked there yesterday with no commuters on site while vending stalls were still empty.

Authorities have said the official opening of the first phase of the multi-million project is expected to be done this Friday, and would go a long way in easing congestion in the city centre.

The vendors and public transporters were relocated from Egodini in 2016 after a South African contractor, Terracotta Private Limited, won the tender to upgrade the facility.

In an interview, Bulawayo Upcoming Traders Association (Bupta) chairman, Mr Vincent Donga said the major borne of contention for their members borders around the "steep fees" that are being charged and the operating conditions which, once violated may lead to their members losing wares.

"We are yet to reach an agreement with the contractor regarding the issue of fees, we believe they are just too stiff for us," he said.

"Before one moves in, they are required to pay US$90 to the contractor per month, a once-off US$20 said to be an administration fee, and another US$23 to City Council as licence fees, which brings to a total of US$133," said Mr Donga.

He said if one fails to pay the US$90 monthly fee by the first of each month, there is a fine of US$5.

"We feel the monthly fees and conditions are draconian and must be reviewed to acceptable levels. It's not easy to make the money they are asking for because of the proliferation of illegal vendors in the city centre," said Mr Donga.

Tshova Mubaiwa marketing director Mr Ndaba Mabunda said calls for people to move to Egodini are being hindered by the continued use of illegal pick-up points in the city centre, mainly by unregistered kombis. "The campaigns are slow and further affected by the free operation of illegal kombis which are not registered, police and the city council must take action about this," said Mr Mabunda.

Bulawayo Mayor Councillor David Coltart said there were "teething problems" associated with full utilisation of the new facility hence some players are yet to move in. "We are still finalising the 400 vendors who will take up occupation of their bays. So, for now it is more of a trial, we have to be patient as this will take a bit of time for vendors to be settled in there," he said.

"Once vendors are there, customers will come to buy whatever is being sold and also board the taxis to their homes.

"It's early days and there will inevitably be teething problems so we must just be patient for the full opening because Egodini has not officially opened yet," said Clr Coltart.

He said once the facility is officially opened, the public can then expect to have vendors and commuters fully moving into the site.

"Even when phase one is opened we still need phase 1B to be opened, which will increase the numbers so it will take possibly even seven months for this to be completely operating smoothly," said Clr Coltart.

Once complete the multi-million-dollar construction project will have a modern-day shopping mall among other commercial infrastructure.

The project was started in 2016 and has been partially completed as only phase 1 was opened on Monday as part of the process of accommodating the initial group of 400 informal traders and transport operators plying mainly western suburbs routes.

The contractor missed the opening deadlines several times and in November last year, Terracotta engaged another South African company McCormick Property Development, to redesign the vendors' bays to ensure that the Egodini vendors' market will be fully roofed to provide protection to vendors, their customers and their wares.

Source - The Chronicle
More on: #Egodini, #Traders, #Fees