BULAWAYO residents have hailed the resumption of construction of vending bays at Egodini after the council engaged a South Africa-based company McCormick Property Development to speed up the project.
The major contractor, also from South Africa, Terracotta Trading, has failed to complete the project within given timelines after facing various challenges.
More than 500 vending bays are being constructed at Egodini Mall which is meant to house informal traders and commuter omnibuses.
In an interview with Southern Eye, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) secretary for transport Teresia Nyathi said completion of the project would assist residents who had trouble getting transport into the central business district.
“We expect the first phase to be completed by the end of the year. The residents have suffered for a very long time as boarding public transport is like punishment. There was not even a shed to protect them during the rainy season and even from the heat. At some places such as Hamara there are no toilets due to the delay of the Egodini project,” Nyathi said.
“The CBD is congested with 6th Avenue being the worst affected in Bulawayo. The residents will only be happy if Egodini starts operating.”
Nyathi said BPRA was finding it difficult to assure the residents of the completion of the project.
“Terracota has been changing goalposts for too long hence the residents have no faith anymore on the finalisation of this project,” she said.
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The project started in 2012, but the contractor is still working on the civil works while the bus terminus and vendors’ market are yet to be completed.
Terracotta (Private) Limited estimated the cost of the project at US$25 million as opposed to the US$60 million BCC claimed the company submitted in its bid.
Bulawayo United Residents Association chairperson, Winos Dube, said the Egodini project was long overdue and speeding it up would decongest the city.
“We are going to see decongestion within the CBD if the project comes into reality. Transporters will now be having a decent and organised place to pick and drop people.
“As members of the public, we would want to see this coming into reality and we want to see our city restored to its former status of being a well organised urban centre,” Dube said.