BY SILISIWE MABALEKA SOUTH African property developer, Terracotta Trading (Private) Limited company yesterday blamed Bulawayo companies for stalling progress in the construction of Egodini Mall.
Company director Thulani Moyo said government enforced COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 also contributed to the delays.
In 2016, Bulawayo City Council (BCC) contracted Terracotta to redesign Basch Street terminus and turn it into a multi-purpose mall under a build, operate and transfer (Bot) arrangement.
The company projected a total investment of US$60 million for the project.
But no noticeable construction has taken place.
Moyo, however, said underground work consisting of 5km of water pipes, sewage pipes and fire line installation had been completed.
“It was agreed at the stakeholders meeting that the project should seek to empower Bulawayo companies, but they delay us as they take too long to deliver materials” Moyo said.
Moyo claimed the company could have long finished the project if it was allowed to import materials from South Africa.
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There is growing frustration among residents over the failed project. Residents have petitioned council to cancel the Terracotta tender.
Moyo said the company had plans to finish phase 1A of the project in the first quarter of 2022.
Phase 1A includes the construction of 1 100 informal traders’ stalls, a 100-bay taxi rank, security wall, security tower, motor, retail, taxi association offices, public ablution facilities and a service lane.
The second phase includes the construction of a bus terminus building, fast-food shops and the grocery anchor.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) chairperson Ambrose Sibindi said residents had been taken for a ride in the Bot Egodini Mall deal.
“The council took us for a ride, we relied on that place. People’s lives were negatively affected. Why did they give a tender to a company that does not have the money ?” he said.
BPRA secretary for administration Thembelani Dube pleaded with central government to take over the project.
But deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube urged residents to be patient.
“The company is doing its best although the pace is slow but something is being done at Egodini,” Ncube said.
Once finished, the mall will be one of the largest development projects the city has seen in over two decades.