CONSTRUCTION of the long-awaited Egodini mall has stalled amid claims the contractor has suspended development until after elections and that they are facing funding challenges.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo was yesterday in the dark on the progress on the construction site, but sources claimed the contractor was fence-sitting, waiting the holding of the polls.
“The project is moving, everything is in place, but the truth of the matter is that the contractor is waiting for the holding of the elections before any real construction can take place,” sources close to the contractor said.
Other sources claimed the contractor was broke and could not start construction. Just recently, Terracotta said it would launch a broad-based retail equity scheme to allow Bulawayo residents to acquire a maximum of 30% shareholding in the Egodini project to raise capital
In an interview yesterday, Moyo said: “Construction work will eventually start”, but could not provide any timelines.
“I think the fencing off of Egodini is an indication that work will eventually start. I am not sure when the contractor will move in, but whatever the outcome of the elections, the project will be completed, and we want it done,” he said.
“I will also need to get an update from the engineering department and until I get a briefing from them, I am not able to say we are putting pressure on them or not, but we will indeed convey a message that they are dilly-dallying. “
Terracotta Trading (Private) Limited director, Thulani Moyo was not responding to phone calls yesterday.
South African civil engineering firm, Terracorta, was in 2015 awarded a tender to develop Basch Street Terminus popularly known as Egodini to a state-of-the-art regional transport hub and mall at a cost of $60 million.
According to the Bulawayo City Council (BCC), once complete the project has a potential to create thousands of jobs for unemployed Bulawayo youths.
There has not been any movement since 2015 until in March 2018 when Egodini was fenced off, and vendors and commuter omnibus operators relocated to new vending sites.
The then Local Government ministry permanent secretary, George Mlilo and Bulawayo Provincial Minister of State Eunice Sandi Moyo at one time once raised a stink over the deal and accused the Bulawayo councillors of lack of transparency over the Egodini project.
They suggested a re-tender claiming that some senior council officials were linked to the SA company when the deal was sealed by the previous council in 2012 following the tendering, pre-adjudication and adjudication process.
The company was also awarded a 99-year lease to the terminus.