OFFICIALS from South African company — Terracotta Private Limited — are set to jet into the country in January to sign the contract which will see the commencement of the long-awaited rehabilitation of Basch Bus Terminus.
The signing ceremony will also see the local authority handing over the site to the company. Confirming the latest development, Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Martin Moyo said council had initially pushed that the ceremony be held before the end of the year but this was now impossible.
“Everything has now been cast in stone, officially the deal has been signed but we now want to hold a public signing ceremony so that we also hand over the site to the company. Ideally I had intended that this ceremony be held before the end of this year but now this is impossible so we are expecting that they (Terracotta), jet into the country by early January so everything commences.
“To be frank that project has taken too long, at one point we were beginning to doubt whether it will start but now that the deal has been signed I see no reason why it should be delayed further,” said Clr Moyo.
The rehabilitation, which was initially meant to start in January 2014, has experienced a number of false starts, with both the local authority and the contracted company reportedly not committing themselves to the commencement of the project.
South African civil engineering firm Terracotta Private Limited won the tender ahead of two other local companies to upgrade the terminus popularly known as Egodini, a project that is expected to gobble close to $60 million.
However, impeccable council sources have revealed that the company has agreed terms with the Bulawayo City Council.
“Everything is now all systems go, the local authority decided that since this is a project that could change the city’s outlook forever, the company should thus come here and an official signing ceremony be held and from there it’s all systems go.
“The only problem now is probably that council officials relaxed when the negotiations were dragging and forgot that they will eventually have to plan on how they will relocate commuter omnibus operators and vendors operating at the terminus during the time of rehabilitation,” said the source.
According to a council report councillors insisted on the signing ceremony as evidence to all and sundry that the project was finally going to take off.
“The Director of Engineering Services (Engineer Simela Dube) recalled that council had resolved that Terracotta (Private) Limited be offered the tender for re-development of Basch Street Terminus (Egodini) into a regional transport hub and shopping complex and further negotiations be carried out pertaining to land tenure as appropriate.
“As previously reported all outstanding issues had been trashed and a final draft lease agreement had been crafted with the concurrent of both parties. The Acting Town Clerk (Mrs Sikhangele Zhou) advised that according to Terracotta copy of the Lease Agreement had been sent by courier,” reads part of the report.
The initial tender for the re-development of the terminus was advertised and closed on 25 June 2012, the compulsory tender briefing was held on 5 July with 14 companies attending. The pre-adjudication interdepartmental meeting was held on 11 September to consider the submissions, where Terracotta was awarded the tender.
The company was also awarded with a 99-year lease to the terminus.
Past projects that have been done by the company include Edendale Shopping Mall in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, Chris Hani crossing taxi facility in Gauteng and the Tsakane Mall Taxi Rank again in Gauteng.
According to the company’s plans earnest renovations are expected to begin in six months after the signing of the contract.
“Completion of tenant letting (will be done) in four months, completion of working drawing and development rights (will be) in place in six months and earthworks begin in six months. Beneficial occupation of main tenants (is expected) in 18 months, beneficial occupation of remaining tenants in 19 months while official opening and commencement of trading after 20 months,” reads part of a brief that the company sent to the local authority.