Phase Two of the Tsumeb mall has been halted until further notice. Details as to why construction has been stopped remain sketchy, two month after the area was cordoned off.
Halting of the operation was confirmed by the mall’s management, which said they have also been informed by Forca Construction, the company subcontracted to do the construction about the delay and had no further information as to when construction will resume and why they are not continuing at present.
Forca is understood to be subcontracted by Eris Property Group, in partnership with Reydev Holdings (Pty) Ltd, that jointly developed the multimillion dollar Phase One, measuring 9 700 square metres (m²).
It is understood that notices have been sent to a number of retail stores informing them that construction has stopped, but no further reasons were given.“We just got the notice and we passed it on to notify the retailers, but we don’t have any insight as to why,” stressed one manager, who did not provide their name before referring all questions to Forca personnel.
Word on the grapevine suggests some retail stores currently operating as part of Phase One of the mall are likely to be moved to the location of the Second Phase once completed, but the contractor and different retails store owners would have to reach consensus on when to relocate and where to.
“The reason given is that we, as store owners, have to agree with the contractors and know when to move, since this means closing business for a while. Therefore, we need to prepare and cover for the losses during that point in time,” explained one retail manager, who did not want to be named.
It is further alleged that there are still some minor touches being applied to Phase One of the mall project, following the completion of which the contractors are likely to proceed with the next phase.
Upon inquiry from Forca, the site manager – a man named Sarel – at the construction feigned ignorance when approached for clarity. “I cannot speak on behalf of the company without permission and if you heard the rumour that the operation is being stopped, let it be so because it’s a rumour,” he said briefly before driving off.
To all appearance there is no progress at the site, as there is no machinery onsite and not much has been done to the area since April when the planned construction started.
The idea of summarily stopping the operation was also not taken lightly by Tsumeb CEO Alfeus Benjamin, who said stopping construction without even informing the municipality would be highly irresponsible of the investor.
“We, as the municipality or council, have not been informed about this. They (investors) informed us in the first place about their investment, so why can’t they let us know when they are unable to continue?” he asked.