Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
NOTHING to write home about is happening at Egodini in Bulawayo, years after a tender was awarded to a company to transform the terminus.
The Egodini Mall contractor, South African civil engineering firm Terracotta Trading (Private) Limited (TTPL), has admitted that they are way behind schedule and on the ground, the company is still laying sewerage, water and drainage systems.
Management admitted yesterday during a media tour of the site organised by the company in conjunction with the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) that a lot still needs to be done.
The project that has been a bone of contention for Bulawayo residents, was awarded to the company 10 years ago.
Residents have accused BCC and the company of doing nothing of significance.
Terracotta, won the tender to upgrade Basch Street Terminus into a regional public transport hub in 2012 ahead of two other companies.
The project was said to cost US$60 million and in March 2018 vendors and public transport operators were relocated to make way for the first phase of the project which was expected to be completed by November 2019.
Later, March 2020 was set as the new target before BCC set August of that year as the new deadline to complete the first phase of the project.
During the media tour, Terracotta Trading director Mr Thulani Moyo gave a one-hour explanation of the stages at which the Egodini Mall is at.
Presently the construction is at phase one A, where the company is doing civil works, laying pipes for sewerage, water, and drainage systems.
On the ground there are construction workers, laying, water pipes and storm drains around the site and they are expected to complete the work by February 11.
The very day, Mr Moyo said it will start top structure building work, where taxi roads, taxi rank islands and taxi rank steel works will be constructed.
Mr Moyo said by mid-April this year, a bus and taxi rank will be handed over to the BCC.
“The taxi rank will be handed over to the council in mid-April. We want the Zupco taxis and buses to come back.
There were deadlines that were set before and those deadlines we were unable to meet, but the technical nature of the work that is now involved over ground construction versus underground construction is a much more manageable issue.
The suppliers of bricks, cement and aggregates are readily available.
You can walk into a shop and buy 5 000 bricks without a problem,” he said.
“But you can’t walk into a shop and ask for two kilometres of storm water pipes.
They will say give us a few months or few weeks for us to give them to you.”
BCC Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube said they were worried that the project was not meeting the agreed deadlines.
“In terms of progress on the ground, this project had problems at the very beginning and we managed to bring everything together.
The project is on course now, but of course we are worried as we are the managers of the project and it is not coming to fruition as per the timelines.
There have been so many timelines given by the developer which have been varied. It’s a contract, but it can be varied provided the contractor can come with reasonable justification for extension of time,” said Mr Dube.
“There is immense pressure from stakeholders starting with the residents, the transport companies, vendors and indeed Government on what is going on.
The problem we are having is when people ask us, we find it difficult to disclose that information because this is a contractual obligation. We cannot give any information as and when people want it.”
Mr Dube said council has made it clear to the contractor to meet their timelines chief among them the handover of the taxi and bus rank.
“We would have wanted to see this development at a much higher stage than it is now.
In any contract there are some delays and where there are some delays applications are made to vary the contract.
Once those are given there is no issue,” said Mr Dube.
“We have made it clear to the contractor that those targets that we have given to him have to be met, otherwise it will give us too much pressure.
Not only us as a partner, but them as well.
They are here and they have said they will stick to their timings and we hope that they do so.” – Follow on twitter @bonganinkunzi
Article Source: The Chronicle