More than another centre

2013-06-14 00:00

A WELCOME fit for a king, complete with a red carpet lined with singers, and elephant tusk archways, greeted guests last week at the opening of a R200-million shopping mall in Mpumalanga.

The new 19 000-square-metreHammarsdale Junction is being touted as something more than just another shopping centre,

It is to form an integral part of a larger urban development in the area to be known as the Mpumalanga New Town Centre.

The shopping centre is a public-private partnership between ERIS Property Group and Vukile Property Fund (which invested R250 million in the project).

It was developed in conjunction with the Ingonyama Trust, the eThekwini municipality and the National Treasury.

The opening of Hammarsdale Junction is the first part of this planned public investment and will be followed by a new metro police station.

It will also include a government customer care centre to accommodate various government service departments, a social welfare centre, a public park with sport and recreational facilities, and a proposed new railway station integrated with a nodal transport interchange.

The R30-million National Treasury Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant has been employed to provide bulk infrastructure and access to the area, said Economic Development and Tourism MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu.

“Very few places in our province mirror the path we have traversed from internecine political violence to our miraculous achievement of peace and stability.”

Less than two decades ago, Mpumalanga was the epicentre of the political violence that threatened South Africa’s democracy, Mabuyakhulu said.

“Yet today it is a catalyst for economic growth that will ultimately link Durban and Pietermaritzburg in the same manner that Midrand links Johannesburg and Pretoria”

“As an anchor for a new town … this shows that what we are launching here today is not only a group of shops, but we are breathing life into a vision to reconstruct Mpumalanga.”

Mabuyakhulu also announced the establishment of the KwaZulu-Natal Small Business Agency, which will co-ordinate and provide integrated business support to SMMEs in the province.

“The establishment of this agency recognises that the success of small enterprises is premised on a holistic, integrated and coherent business support system and value chain that will significantly reduce transaction costs for the entrepreneur.”

He invited more entrepreneurs from the area to get in touch, not only with GijimaKZN — the local fund that promotes local economic development — but other funds within the department, as well as nationally.

He also urged local entrepreneurs to tap into the National Treasury’s R9 billlion jobs fund.

Lance Meyer, property development manager of ERIS Property Group, said that around 945 people were directly employed during the shopping centre’s construction.

Local enterprises and labour played a big part.

An estimated R9 million was injected into the local community during this phase of the development.

Of the 550 permanent jobs created, over 75% have been allocated to the local community.

Meyer said that “Hammarsdale Junction is well set to grow with the increasing investment in the Outer West of the eThekwini municipality”.

The Ingonyama Trust made land available for the development and indicated that this project had piloted large-scale investment and development on trust land.

King Goodwill Zwelithini, chairperson of the Ingonyama Trust, said he was proud that this work stood on Trust land.

He said that the promise inherent in the name Mpumalanga — which means “sunshine” — had eventually been fulfilled.

“The darkness that engulfed this place has been lifted and this development will ensure that future generations have a brighter future,” he said.

 

Hammarsdale Junction is a single-level shopping mall with wide walkways, 570 free parking bays and an integrated taxi rank. It is easily accessible to local communities and from the MR 385.

Its more than 65 tenants include: Spar and Pick n Pay as anchors, Jet, Legit, Mr Price, Total Sports, Markhams, Exact, Jam Clothing, PEP, Tekkie Town, Rage, Dodos, Nu Shop, Jumbo Clothing, Edgars Active, Electric Express, Barnetts, Beares, Ellerines, FNB, Standard Bank, Old Mutual Finance, African Bank, Capitec Bank, China City, KFC, Fishaways, and Debonairs.

It is open from 9 am to 6 pm, Mondays to Fridays, from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, and from 9 am to 2 pm on Sundays and public holidays.

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