By Jermaine Ndlovu
Bulawayo, March 25, 2016 – THE city’s Egodini Mall project has been marred by controversy, weeks before it could take off ground, amid claims of favouritism and bribery levelled against the MDC-T dominated council.
The multi-million dollar initiative, set to commence this April, will upgrade Basch Street Terminus into a majestic shopping complex and regional transport hub.
However, the project has since renewed rivalry between the MDC-T and its breakaway group, PDP.
Politicians from the Tendai Biti led PDP are accusing their former allies of running a recruitment process which they feel was not fully encompassing as planned.
Local councillors were assigned to lead the hiring procedure.
However, the move has seen Bulawayo’s PDP members threatening to take legal action against MDC-T councillors they accuse of recruiting from their own party’s supporters.
PDP Bulawayo provincial spokesperson, Fortune Mlalazi said the councillors from MDC-T are recruiting labour for the project on political lines while denying the rest employment opportunities.
“MDC-T councillors are employing youths based on political affiliations and this is disadvantaging the residents who are not affiliated to the party,” he said.
“We are saying this is wrong and the employment process should be done on non-partisan grounds by the hired Terracotta Trading Private Limited (TTPL) instead of the councillors who are merely championing their interests at the expense of city residents.”
Mlalazi also alleged bribery among those charged with the recruitment process.
“We are aware that some residents are being made to pay bribes by some councillors in order to have their names registered.
“We will not stand and watch MDC-T bring Zanu PF culture in our council and they must be assured that their days are numbered at the city hall,” he said.
But MDC-T Bulawayo deputy spokesperson Felix Mafa distanced his party from any corruption insisting the allegations were mere propaganda by their rivals.
“As far as MDC-T is concerned, we do not tolerate such unprofessional acts,” he said.
“We have the residents at heart and our party members including the councillors know and subscribe to that. I am shocked that our councillors are being accused of such acts.
“They should stop being cry babies because they are the same people who do not attend meetings held by the ward councillors to give feedback.
“They should not expect the councillors to beg them to attend the meetings.”
Mafa said those interested in knowing the employment process should approach the city council which has answers to their queries.
Egodini has provided sustenance to many families who live off vending and the transport business.
The upgrading process, council has promised, will incorporate standard vending cubicles with dignity.
The city floated a tender the project in 2012 which was offered to South Africa’s civil engineering firm, Terracotta on a 99 year lease of the terminus.
The company has in the past worked on projects which include Edendale Shopping Mall in Pietermaritzburg, Chris Hani Taxi facility in Gauteng, Tsakane Mall Taxi rank in Gauteng among others.