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Bulawayo councillors reject NRZ bus terminus proposal

by Staff reporter
10 Jun 2024 at 09:23hrs | Views
Bulawayo City Council (BCC) councillors have rejected a proposed partnership with the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) to establish a bus terminus on part of the NRZ's business premises.

Councillors argued that such a partnership wouldn't reflect well on the council, considering their existing agreement with Terracotta for the construction of the Egodini terminus.

The council maintains that the Egodini development will decongest the CBD by reducing traffic and the number of informal traders.

During a recent Full Council meeting, Ward 28 Councillor Ntandoyenkosi Ndlovu expressed shock about the proposal, stating that councillors were not formally consulted. They learned about the development through the press, despite ongoing efforts to create a local development plan for the CBD.

"We recently read in the media that the city has partnered with NRZ for a bus terminus at the railway station," Cllr Ndlovu said. "There's no council resolution for this. We have a relationship with Terracotta to develop Egodini as a regional and local bus terminal. Learning about the NRZ plan from the press is shocking."

Cllr Ndlovu argued that the NRZ partnership wouldn't solve the city's transportation and vending issues; it would simply relocate the chaos.

"We see the chaos at alternative areas designated for buses and vendors. Now, suggesting these elements move to the railway station means the chaos will restart there," he said. "This won't solve congestion; it will worsen it. We need convenient bus terminals, and that's what Egodini offers through the Terracotta project. Partnering with NRZ reflects poorly on us. We should rescind this decision."

Ward 2 Councillor Adrian Moyo concurred, calling the proposed NRZ partnership a "bad faith" move due to the existing Egodini agreement.

"The Egodini project involved a tender process and feasibility assessments. This NRZ talk is not only shocking but a poorly conceived exercise," Cllr Moyo said. "I haven't seen any procedures followed, advertisements placed, or tenders issued. We haven't seen proposals or documentation presented to the committee. I believe fellow councillors want an orderly city with proper planning. We can't take a haphazard approach that ignores due process. This conversation needs to be shelved until proper procedures are followed. We're contractually obligated to fulfill our agreement with the Egodini project."

City Mayor, Cllr David Coltart, clarified that the proposal stemmed from a resolution passed by the previous council. Reversing it would require following proper procedures.

"Some of us are new to the council," Cllr Coltart said. "I was also surprised to learn about the previous council's resolution with NRZ. We're bound by that resolution. However, if this council wishes to reverse it, we must follow the proper procedures."

In the meantime, Cllr Coltart assured Terracotta that their agreement with the council remains valid.

"We've spoken to Terracotta to address their concerns," he said. "We've reaffirmed our commitment to Egodini and want them to comply with contracts made with transport operators. The city will support those contracts. They understand the situation and are satisfied with our assurances."

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