The Bulawayo City Council is pushing for the termination of the US$60 million Egodini Mall contract it entered into in 2016 with a South African based property developer.
However, it has also emerged that the local authority was in breach after it failed to fulfil its own contractual obligations.
In 2016, the Bulawayo City Council 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 takeoff leading to both residents and councillors demanding the termination of the deal.
Responding to city fathers’ concerns over the prolonged delay in completing the project, chamber secretary Sikhangele Zhou said while the contractor had failed to meet certain contractual obligations, the local authority was also to blame for the failure to comply with some of the agreed aspects of the deal.
“There is need to explain why council was now in this situation where it could not cancel the contract even if it so wished and the reason being it had not fulfilled parts of the contract. There was need for council to register the Notarial deed.
“The reason why this had not been done was because there were two properties that were privately owned that were within the area of development. Council had not been able to purchase those properties from the private players because it had no funds even though negotiations to purchase the properties had been done,” Zhou told the councillors.
She pointed out, contrary to the belief that the contractor was playing games; both parties had failed to fulfil their obligations in terms of the notarial agreement.
“That was the reason why the cancellation could not be evoked and both parties were to blame,” she said.