Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
BULAWAYO councillors are unhappy with failure by the developer to complete the first phase of the Egodini project by this month-end and are now piling pressure to ensure that all works are completed within the agreed three-year timeframe.
In 2016, Terracotta Trading Private Limited (TTPL) won a US$60 million tender for the redevelopment of Basch Street Terminus, popularly known as Egodini, under a Build Operate and Transfer facility.
TTLP only moved on site last year in March leading to the relocation of vendors and public transport operators, a development that has led to congestion in the central business district.
The first phase was supposed to be completed by end of this month to accommodate vendors and public transporters who were moved to various points in the city centre.
Councillors led by the Mayor Solomon Mguni on Wednesday toured the Egodini site where they met officials working on the ground.
In an interview yesterday, Clr Mguni said the City Fathers toured the site after its developers missed the deadline to have completed the first phase of the project by month end.
“Councillors are generally not happy with the progress because as you know the first phase was supposed to be commissioned by end of November 2019,” said Clr Mguni.
“However, we have noted the progress that the contractor has made and also the challenges that the contractors are facing in navigating this hyperinflationary environment. We remain hopeful that, whilst the contractor has missed the November 2019 deadline to commission the first phase, with the appraisal given to councillors it is still possible to finish the project within three years as previously advised.”
He declined to state what council would do if the project fails to meet its 2021 completion deadline.
“We will cross that bridge when we get there. The contract has clauses that can be invoked in the event of breach, but for now we still have up to 2021 to have the project fully completed,” he said.
Clr Mguni said Bulawayo residents should, however, be hopeful as there is some progress on the ground.
“I can tell you that all excavations and landscaping works are 95 percent complete. JR Goddard contractors has been on site since April 2019. We also noted that plumbing and electrical works are now 50 percent done. The contractor has also reported that the structural components are being fabricated in a factory in South Africa and will be brought to the country around February/March for mounting,” said Clr Mguni.
“So, the developer won’t be employing the traditional brick and dagga concept to construct the mall. Going by the report, we are hopeful that the whole project will be completed within the three years as initially agreed except that it will no longer be completed in phases.”
Recently, TTLP wrote to council informing the local authority that it had missed the first phase of the project which will now be completed between April and June next year.
In its report, TTPL said there are a lot of changes in the economy that have resulted in the company facing challenges in working on the project.
It, however, said it was devising methods to continue working on the project without bringing it to a halt.
“Inflation rate: the project has experienced challenges with suppliers and sub-contractors who are unwilling to price for periods longer than seven to 14 days. This has introduced significant challenges in terms of procurement and budgeting. Under such circumstances, it would not be unreasonable to suspend construction works. However, the developer has adopted a ‘work packages’ approach in an attempt to mitigate against this challenge and continue with works on site notwithstanding any inherent time delays,” reads the report.—@nqotshili