Egodini project divides Byo councillors

Bulawayo councillors have blamed the traffic congestion in the Central Business District (CBD) on the delays in completing the Egodini transport hub.

In 2016, the local authority entered into an agreement with Terracotta to redesign Basch Street terminus into a multi-purpose mall under a build, operate and transfer arrangement at an estimated cost of US$60 million.

The councillors noted that had the project been completed on time, public transport operators and informal traders would have occupied the rightful operational areas and there would be no chaos. 

Some suggested that the project should be given to the council to finish it while others were of the view that they should get a new contractor because Terracotta was taking too much time to complete. 

But other councillors were of the view that the chaos and congestion were being caused by lawlessness and lack of enforcement of city by-laws. 

“Egodini progress is really disappointing Your Worship. Our CBD is a mess because of that project. There is nothing showing that anytime soon. We have a huge problem. Transporters and informal traders are in a crisis because of that project,” said Ward 17 Cllr Sikhululekile Moyo. 

Cllr Edwin Ndlovu weighed in, noting that people were delaying getting to work and taking their children to school because of the congestion. 

“The issue of Egodini really needs attention. In the morning, there is a lot of chaos because of kombi drivers who use undesignated areas for pickup and drop-offs, we struggle to take our kids to school and to get to work. If the contracted people are struggling to finish up can they not just be let go and we finish on our own as the council? Clearly, they are not finishing anytime soon and the city is full of congestion,” Cllr Ndlovu said.  

Ward 9 Cllr Donaldson Mabuto said, “The contractors need to be engaged. Nothing beats dialogue. We do understand that there are legal implications but if they are failing to do the job let us give it to someone else who will do it accordingly.” 

Bulawayo Mayor Solomon Mguni, in response, said the congestion is a result of the failure to enforce by-laws by relevant authorities. 

“It seems like we are now mixing issues. Egodini project is one issue and lawlessness at 6th Avenue is a separate issue. Even when Egodini was functional we were having challenges at 6th Avenue because they kept on operating from there. There is a need to talk about city by-laws, then there is the issue of progress or lack of it at Egodini,” he said. 

Ward 1 Cllr Mlandu Ncube said the Egodini project was now being used as a scapegoat instead of addressing people who break the law. 

“Egodini project is now being used as a scapegoat. We need to be wary of the fact that there is a lot of lawlessness happening in the CBD. Long-distance coaches are ferrying people from undesignated areas we blame Egodini, Kombis and Honda Fit drivers are using undesignated loading points we blame Egodini, we need to deal with the lawbreakers and not blame the project,” Cllr Ncube said. 

“Before the project started, there were extensive consultation meetings discussing how transporters and informal traders would operate. They were allocated specific places, now that the law is not being followed people are blaming the project.”

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