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Tibiyo ‘interested’ in E40m SASCO building

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By SIBUSISO NGUBANE - SWAZI TIMES-13-Sep-2009

MBABANE—Tibiyo TakaNgwane is amongst a number of businesses that have shown interest in buying the unfinished Swaziland Association of Savings and Credit Co-ops (SASCCO) building in Mbabane, which will cost around E40 million to E50 million

The Times SUNDAY has reliably gathered that Tibiyo, which has shown keen interest in acquiring the building, recently enlisted services of ZMCK Consulting Engineers (Pty) Ltd to evaluate the incomplete building. The evaluators, according to our sources, have estimated that the building will cost between E40 million and E50 million as currently is. It is said the evaluation was carried out about three months ago by the consulting engineers company.

Tibiyo has formed a committee to look into the acquisition of the building, which is chaired by Winston Lomahoza who works for Tibiyo. However, Lomahoza was reported out of the country on Friday when reached for comment by this newspaper. He is expected to be back in the office tomorrow. Other members of the committee referred all questions the chairman.

“I am a member of the committee but the right person to comment on the issue pertaining to the SASCCO building is Lomahoza,” said one member when asked by this publication about the issue. Commissioner of Co-operatives Nonhlanhla Mnisi who was tasked by government to look into the issue of the building said it has not been sold yet but confirmed that there are a lot of business people from Swaziland who have shown interest in buying it.

However, Mnisi revealed that there is one potential buyer of the structure with whom they have reached a stage where they evaluate the building to determine how much it is worth. “We have not discussed anything up to this far as we are yet to go to the negotiation table with the potential buyer,” she explained during a telephonic interview with this publication. She would not disclose the name of the potential buyer.

She said members of the co-operative would be informed of the latest developments once something concrete has come out of the discussions. She said they were hoping to negotiate with the buyer, that members of the co-operative remain part of the deal. Mnisi said she could not reveal names of the potential buyers at this stage but will only do so once the discussions have gone through. SASCCO Chief Executive Officer, Grace Dludlu could not be reached for comment on the issue as she was reported out of office on Friday.

Early this week, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development Lindiwe Dlamini during an interview on radio on the programme Letishisako, said government was helping SASCCO to secure funds for the completion of the building situated in the city centre. The construction of the building came to a halt almost five years ago after the co-operative ran out of funds. Initially the building, whose construction started under then CEO Bongani Masuku, was going to be an office park. When Musa Mbingo took over as CEO, it was reported that the building was going to be a hotel as they had supposedly made a deal with Don Suites Hotel which was going to run the business.

When the construction of the building situated above the New Mall in the city centre, started, it was financed by the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA). It was reported that members of SASCCO were supposed to fork out around E25 million for the construction while DBSA was going to pay the balance for the completion of the building. Also, its construction was blessed by His Majesty King Mswati III who cut the sod.


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