The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says residents will soon see progress at the multi-million dollar Egodini Mall project which has stalled for the past two years.
This came out during the digital public procurement capacity building meeting hosted by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) on Wednesday.
The local authority entered into a partnership with a South African civil engineering firm Terracotta Private Limited (TTPL) and the main contractor another South African construction company, Liviero Group, to develop a $60 million state of the art Egodini Mall and intermodal public transport interchange in Bulawayo.
TTPL started working on the project in March 2018, resulting in the relocation of vendors and public transport operators, a development which led to congestion in the central business district.
The contractors were supposed to have completed the first phase by November 2019 and after missing it they set another target for March 2020.
Responding to questions from participants on issues of transparency and accountability at the local authority, BCC procurement manager, Mlungelwa Khumalo appreciated that the project has not progressed well.
“The Egodini project, yes it has not moved as fast as everyone else would have expected and the council can’t run away from it but it does not mean that nothing is happening,” said Khumalo.
“That is a lease agreement, let me put that clearly and the council is not paying the contractor any kind of money, the contractor is investing his money which will recoup over a long period of time and please let’s note that this is a tender or let me say this is an agreement that was started a long time back before some of these Acts were put in place.”
Khumalo said the contractor was on the site and there has been some progress made on the project.
“On the ground, from afar, yes it may appear as if nothing is happening but they have started working on the ground and the civil works have been done and I am told they have submitted the plans which have been approved.
“So, we are likely to see some progress soon, of course, I will agree with you that it hasn’t moved as well as it should have,” he said.
He added that the local authority investigates all concerns raised by the public.
“When issues are raised by the public its not like Bulawayo City Council doesn’t investigate or communicate, the truth is, if an issue is raised whether from the public or media or what so ever, and it warrants investigations, investigations are done and perhaps people are not aware where they can get that information, council communicates through council minutes, maybe people are not aware on how they can access council minutes,” said Khumalo.
He advised residents to visit the City Hall to access council minutes and follow the local authority on social media platforms.
“They can then come to City Hall and ask for those minutes or even through our social platforms you can get some of these things, council minutes are made available to anyone who requires them, maybe it’s an issue of people not knowing how to access them.
“Every issue that is being raised whether it’s a corruption issue, it is investigated and reports are made to the council, those reports are made available through council minutes,” he said.