Egodini project has taken longer than necessary — Minister

19 Mar, 2023 - 00:03 0 Views
Egodini project has taken longer than necessary — Minister Minister July Moyo address chiefs

The Sunday News

Vincent Gono, News Editor
LOCAL Government and Public Works Minister Cde July Moyo said the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) should stick to set timelines and not have an open-ended approach to the Egodini Mall Project if it is to convince its stakeholders that the project is not one of those held for speculative purposes.

Speaking in an interview in Bulawayo on the sidelines of the Annual Chiefs’ Conference last week, Minister Moyo said the snail pace the project had adopted should worry BCC more than anyone else as there was evident disorder and deteriorating standards of smartness in the city. He said the city should be spot-on on deadlines and bring the contractor to account for making it fashionable to miss them.

Egodini vending structures

“We don’t usually want to be seen interfering too much with some of these projects. It remains the duty of BCC to ensure that companies that are awarded development tenders meet their set timeframes. It is not advisable to have an open-ended approach. It breeds suspicion in the minds of stakeholders which is not good as it takes away their confidence which is bad for development. The Egodini Project has taken far too long to complete. It has taken longer than necessary and BCC should take it upon itself to ensure that the project is expedited so that there is normalcy in the city’s transport and vending sectors,” he said.

He said it was not only the Egodini Project that was not yet complete as there were other developmental projects in various local authorities around the country that have taken more than their set deadlines to be completed as well.

“The Egodini Project is very important to Bulawayo. It has to be completed; it will solve a lot of headaches. It will decongest the city and reduce the chaos that we see now,” he added.

BCC entered into a deal with Terracotta Trading Private Limited (TTPL) to develop Egodini Mall in 2015 but the project is yet to be completed seven years after the deal was sealed and the council is under pressure from residents and other stakeholders to complete the project seen as a permanent panacea to the many problems bedevilling the city in recent times.

The delay in the completion of the project has irked residents who are the major stakeholders and beneficiaries with some suggesting that the contractor should not be given more time to miss deadlines while others say money could have exchanged hands and the contractor was using that to abuse the contract.

Residents’ associations recently rapped the local authority accusing it of not being serious with the project. Bulawayo United Residents Association (Bura) chairman Mr Winos Dube said the project had taken eternity to complete and was responsible for the congestion and disorder in the city.

He said the project was important as a number of households were dependent on it for income and urged the city council to speed up its completion or risk people’s wrath in the coming elections.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) chairman Mr Ambrose Sibindi recently blamed the city council for the continued delays saying there were provisions in the contract that the city council was reluctant to invoke.

Bulawayo City Council (BCC)

He said Bulawayo had been too lenient to the contractor and urged the city council to ensure accountability in terms of deadlines. Bulawayo Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni said they were equally worried with the delays, adding that they have been engaging the developer to see how best taxis and informal traders could move back on site without disturbing the ongoing works.

Bulawayo mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni

“There have been some engagements with the developer to see how best taxis can move in without disturbing ongoing construction work. That will be a staggered process to ensure the smooth implementation of a council resolution that requires that taxis must move in immediately; followed by vendors while the mall is being constructed.

“The implementation matrix is being worked out in consultation with the developer. The public shall be informed once all necessary consultations and regulatory requirements are met,” said Clr Mguni.

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