Zuma appeals to investors

2014-04-09 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has called for black people to establish their own banks and newspapers if they want their dignity to be intact.

He was speaking during a sod-turning ceremony for the multi-million-rand Mavundla Square in Greytown, an initiative by Zuma ally and local tycoon Philani Mavundla.

A former uMvoti Municipality mayor, Mavundla said he acquired the vast tract of land for the centre by buying pockets of land over some years from existing business owners until he was able to acquire the 8 000 square metres that will be used to create Mavundla Square.

He said the project had already seen R129 million being invested.

“On completion it is estimated that more than R300 million will have been used,” he said.

He said they wanted to finish the mall by November this year so that it can be opened to the public in December.

B.A. Xulu, the uMvoti municipal manager, urged Eskom to develop electricity infrastructure to ensure that the mall has enough power. He said they will also ensure there is a proper sanitation system in place to ensure a decent mall for the people of Greytown.

The president said, “Investors have pride and do not necessarily want to invest in such initiative, especially when it is 100% black owned, like the Mavundla Square.”

He said black people needed to have a bank owned by them. “It must be a bank that understands the plight of the black people and with newspapers owned by our people so that our stories can be told by our people.”

Zuma said investors took a long time approving such developments. “You would swear one is proposing love to a woman when requesting investors to fund such developments.”

The newspaper for blacks is required not for business but as “a mouthpiece for black people”.

Zuma emphasised a need for Greytown to grow.

He said he was not in the area to chase away business people because they had a right to choose political parties that they liked.

“I am not here to campaign but I am here to plead with investors to invest in Greytown.”

When Mavundla was asked how he got the president to attend the sod-turning ceremony, he said, “It was President Zuma who encouraged me to open this mall to make the town more vibrant when he was meeting Greytown business people in 2011.”

Building the shopping centre had been the fulfilment of six years of hard work, he said. It is the biggest in Greytown and will drastically change the rates base of the municipality.

After Zuma delivered his speech, he flew to the Zululand University where he was honoured.

The Greytown ceremony was characterised by a high level of security, and business people like Sibusiso Mpisane were also present.

Soap actor Rapulana Seiphemo was the programme director.

MEC for Agriculture Dr Meshack Radebe used the ceremony to campaign for the ANC, but Zuma refused to do so, saying he did not want to “scare investors off”.

Anchor tenants for the mall include Shoprite, Jet, Edcon, Debonairs and Steers.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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