BY SILAS NKALA
SOUTH African property developer, Terracotta Private Limited, which was contracted to construct the Egodini Mall in Bulawayo, yesterday said it estimated the value of the project at US$25 million as opposed to the US$60 million Bulawayo City Council (BCC) claims the company submitted in its bid.
In 2016, council contracted Terracota to redesign Basch Street terminus and turn it into a multi-purpose mall under a build, operate and transfer arrangement.
But the contradiction emerged yesterday during a virtual Press briefing organised by the BCC and Terracotta official Thulani Moyo.
Journalists had asked Moyo to clarify the projected total cost of the project.
Moyo said the much spoken about US$60m was not Terracotta’s figure, adding that theirs was around US$25m. He said he did not know where the US$60m came from.
“This number, US$60m, we do not know where it comes from,” Moyo said.
“I think it has been brandied about by the media. We are not sure who created that number of US$60m.
“What we did in terms of what we would invest in our bid submission, we prepared a scheme and in terms of that scheme, we gave an estimate of how much we thought may be the cost of that scheme. That scheme was nowhere near the US$60m that is indicated there.
“In terms of our scheme in our proposal, it remains the same, we have not downgraded.”
Moyo said when the bids were done, there were three companies, one of the companies proposed to invest US$1m, the second one proposed to invest US$5m in the project while his company proposed to invest around US$25m.
However, previous council minutes state that Terracotta had projected that it would spend around US$60m on the project.
This was also confirmed by chamber secretary Sikhangele Zhou during the Press briefing, who insisted that Terracotta presented US$60 million to council as its estimated investment in the project.
“The tender that was there was for an expression of interest and we were looking at the possible developments that could be done at Egodini,” Zhou said.
“The amounts were possible investments, not hard and fast, but you were to make an indication of what you estimate your investment would be and, indeed, Terracotta’s bid document did indicate that their estimated investment at that time was US$60m.”
She said the figure included all what they would do at Egodini.
Following the contradiction over the figure, town clerk Christopher Dube advised Moyo to check with his colleagues who did bid submissions to review the document and correct the position in due course.
Moyo, however, said they expected to complete the first phase of the project in October this year, adding that the work was stalled by the COVID-19 containment measures.