Blade says Edendale Mall causing strain

2010-11-08 00:00

THE construction of the Edendale Mall at the site of the Qokololo Stadium landmark in Pietermaritzburg is straining relations between the local ANC and its alliance partners.

This came to light at the national closing rally of the South African Communist Party’s (SACP) Red October month held at Ashdown Sports Grounds on Saturday when SACP general-secretary and prominent Edendale resident Blade Nzimande rejected the construction of the mall at the Qokololo Stadium site.

Delivering his keynote address at the rally, Nzimande said to demolish the stadium and construct a mall in its place gives an impression that black people don’t deserve sports and recreational facilities.

“When we hosted the World Cup we said we were going to build on its legacies by using [sports] facilities that were left after its completion. I am really disappointed with the demolition of the Qokololo Stadium.

“That stadium is central for people who live in Edendale, Ashdown and other outlying areas … This is an example of why people must be consulted before each and every development in their area. Why demolish a stadium for a mall? Why build three malls next to each other?” Asked Nzimande.

Prior to Nzimande’s reference to the controversial Edendale Mall, SACP Pietermaritzburg regional secretary, Matthew Ndlovu, alluded to the fact that this SACP rally should have taken place at Qokololo stadium “but our stadium was stolen from the community”.

It is not for the first time that there is an outcry from the community over the demolition of Qokololo Stadium for the mall construction as some members have previously protested the move.

According to initial plans, the Edendale Mall, which has just resumed construction, was supposed to be build next to the stadium.

The initial terms of agreement between the developers and Msunduzi Municipality was that the mall developers were going to develop Qokololo as a sporting centre attached to the mall, however, after EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) was done, it was found that part of the land set aside for the mall was in a wetland area.

Consequently new arrangements were made with the municipality and the developers were allowed to tear down the stadium and build the mall partly at the site of the stadium.

This is what sparked off divisions within the Edendale and the Pietermaritzburg community at large — with some people supporting the continued construction of the mall while others wanted the stadium to remain.

The stadium is named after the late legendary local businessman and nationwide respected sports administrator, Alfred Qokololo Hlophe.


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