The US$60 million Egodini Mall project, which has failed to kick-off after missing deadlines for remains a pipe dream with the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) saying it is not easy to terminate the contract.
In 2016, the BCC awarded Terracotta Trading Limited (TTPL), a US$60m tender for the redevelopment of the Basch Street bus terminus popularly known as Egodini under a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) facility.
TTPL started working on the project in March 2018, resulting in the relocation of vendors and public transport operators.
The first phase was expected to be completed by November 2019, and after missing the deadline, March 2020 was targeted for the completion.
However, since then, the multi-million dollar project has failed to take-off leading to both residents and councillors demanding the termination of the deal.
Speaking during a CITE online programme Fix My City Bulawayo Deputy Mayor, Councillor Mlandu Ncube said cancelling to contracts without looking at other factors could cost residents of the city , who are the rate payers.
“It’s not easy terminate a contract,” said Cllr Ncube.
“Please, residents we might make a wrong decision that will end up costing the City than what we expect to gain from that project. We are not sitting but you know some of the actions that you take against a contractor you cannot be always on the media to say we have done this.”
He said the local authority was taking necessary steps to address the issue.
“We are taking steps but careful decisions when dealing with such things. When someone is angry, they can say anything and this is why stakeholders are there in society to raise such concerns with us,” he said.
“As I have said you can’t go around and say we have cancelled a tender. A tender is a legal thing; there are legal steps that must be taken to cancel that thing, so I cannot say Council is going to cancel when the contractor has failed.”
He said the tender would only be cancelled after the contractor has proven failure.
“We can’t go around saying we are going to cancel the tender because last time I checked he (contractor) had done soil testing,” he said.
“When you do projects you must do the soil testing and the last time I checked he had done it. Also cancelling such a tender, residents should know, let’s say council has decided to take that route, residents are going to pay for that because there are some compensation that needs to take place and the mayor does not have money, he will not take money from his pocket neither the Town Clerk,” he said.
The Deputy Mayor added that decisions to cancel the contract should be done with a sober mind.
“The money to compensate, the money to pay legal fees will come from the residents, will come from rate payers money, so when we make such decisions residents, we must first be sober, discuss and tell each other the truth of taking such decisions,” said Cllr Ncube.