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Outcry over delayed Egodini Mall project

by Staff reporter
06 Sep 2017 at 13:40hrs | Views
FRUSTRATED Bulawayo residents have expressed grave concern over delayed commencement of the much awaited multi-million dollar Egodini Mall project, despite assurances by the authorities.

The project was meant to start in January 2014 and is being touted as the biggest in the city since independence in 1980.

South African contractor Terracotta Trading (Private) Limited won the tender to upgrade the former Basch Street Terminus into the Egodini Mall.

The project, expected to cost $60 million and create 1 200 jobs, is set to provide shopping convenience for travellers, as well as the commuting public.

It has experienced a number of false starts, as both the local authority and the contracted company allegedly haggled behind the scenes.

At one point, the council had set a date for the ground-breaking ceremony but it turned into a pie in the sky, as the event was postponed indefinitely following squabbles that erupted over its implementation soon after the signing of the agreement in 2016.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (Bpra) coordinator Roderick Fayayo yesterday said while they had information that the council was finalising its processes, they were worried that the project was shrouded in secrecy.

"The biggest challenge we have as residents is that the project has for long been shrouded in secrecy. At the moment, no one knows what is happening considering that at one point they had promised that they were about to begin the construction process.

"They should keep updating the residents because they are the ones who are going to be affected by the project, one way or the other," Fayayo said.

National Vendors Association of Zimbabwe (Navuz) provincial coordinator Obert Manduna said there was little information about the activities at the site of construction.

"All the vendors need to know are the time frames such that they can prepare for the eventual relocation. Of course, at one point we were given notice that we will vacate to new pegged sites, but later it all went silent with no one explaining to us. So it will be good if there is communication between us and the local authority so that there is a smooth relocation," Manduna said.

In the past, vendors and commuters have resisted relocation, arguing the new sites were not viable for their businesses.

In an exclusive interview, mayor Martin Moyo yesterday said a lot has been going on behind the scenes, mainly involving all major stakeholders such as the contractor, the local authority, the government and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).

"With regard to the technical and cadastral surveys, they have been completely conducted while the environmental assessment impact is still a matter between EMA and the contractor Terracotta," Moyo said.

"As for the issue of relocating vendors and commuters, it is something that has been agreed with all the stakeholders, so we don't expect any problems.

"As council, we have also attended to some issues to do with properties because there were some properties that were privately owned in the area of construction so, we had to negotiate with them to do some exchanges and so forth and I am happy to say we are done with that phase," he added.

With almost a year left before the term of the current council that is the brains behind the project ends, the mayor said they were doing everything in their power to ensure it materialises.

"It is my wish that the project fully commences during our tenure as council, if it doesn't, well it's still okay but if it does, well that will be a bonus to us and that's our wish."

However, asked to give the time-frame within which the project is likely to commence, Moyo said:  "This is what we are waiting for as council, the contractor is going to give us the update as we go."

"But it is not true that the project has suffered many false starts as all this underground work that has been happening is part of the project. So in essence, the project has already started," added Moyo.

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Source - dailynews
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