Tourism Hub ‘adds glory’ to PMB city

2014-02-03 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S landmark Tourism Hub finally opened last week Friday.

The state-of-the-art, one-stop shop for tourists cost the city more than R24,7 million and was expected to open in August 2012.

Delays caused by a contractor abandoning the site and rain, however, saw the Msunduzi Municipality only now receiving the hub from the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomsa Dube-Ncube.

Msunduzi Municipality manager Mxolisi Nkosi said the opening of the three-storey tourism hub marked end of the second phase of the Freedom Square Development Precinct.

“The first phase was the construction of the Bessie Head library and our focus will now be on ensuring that the third phase is under way,” he said.

The third phase would be constructing a seven-storey building that will be a one-stop shop where “we will be digging the Freedom Square to create more than 800 parking bays that will cater for the staff at the Premier’s Office and also visitors at the legislature will be able to use the parking space”.

Nkosi said that they would link this building to Intergrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN).

“As the capital city, it is important that we build proper parking infrastructure within the Freedom Square,” he said.

The news of the opening were welcomed with excitement from the director of the Msunduzi-Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association Dumisani Mhlongo. “Today, we are very excited about the hand over of the new Tourism Hub to the municipality by MEC Nomsa Dube-Ncube,” he said.

He said this will add glory to the city centre and will compliment the urban renewal programme that is under way.

“Many locals who had left the city centre and who would not come back to the city because of how it looked would reconsider their decision.

The strides made by Safe City to reduce crime have been yielding effective results,” said Mhlongo.

He said this would certainly bring much needed job opportunities in the tourism sector.

Dr Nomagugu Ngobese, director of Nomkhubulwane, a pioneer of virginity testing in the region, said, “We are extremely happy about the opening of the hub.”

She said the Tourism Hub would surely be a tourism draw card in the city centre. “Those who make indigenous art work, craft and sculptures should be encouraged to bring their work for display,” she said.

Ngobese said people should learn to be creative so that their work stands out.

“I have made beadwork using seashells because it is important to be different when you are an artist,” she said.

A young author, Nathi Ntuli, publishing in Zulu had his work on display. He hails from the rural area of Maphumulo, but lives in Pietermaritzburg. He has written two books, Isisekelo Samasiko (“Foundation of Culture”) and Inungu Yokubala, which counts months and numbers in Zulu. “We up-and-coming writers are happy about the hub because we had a challenge of not having a place to expose the kind of work that we do,” he said.

Ntuli said this was a platform for those writing indigenous languages to bring their work for locals and visitors to see.

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