Long time coming

2010-05-11 00:00

LIKE having a birthday on a public holiday, the establishment of the Edendale mall will have plenty of positive spin-offs for the community.

Notwithstanding the obvious convenience of having such a facility on one’s doorstep, the development will create a number of much-needed jobs and open a new economic window for the area. It should be rightly celebrated, as this might eventually lead to the area creating a small functional business district of its own.

Construction on the food-court section of the shopping centre began last year in November and, according to the site foreman, construction is expected to be wrapped up in the last quarter of the year.

The food court section will be across the road from the bigger mall, which will be situated on the site of the Qokololo Stadium. The food court will accommodate fast-food outlets, as well as Rhino Supermarket. This section will also accommodate outlets such as salons and doctors’ surgeries.

The mall on the Qokololo site will feature clothing shops and other big-name supermarkets. Tenants to be housed at the mall include Pick n Pay, Shoprite and clothing stores such as Truworths, Jet and Mr Price.

It is estimated that the mall will house more than 100 shops.

Residents of the greater Edendale area will benefit from the mall by, among other things, having first dibs on jobs at the stores that will be housed there. An estimated 2 800 jobs will be created, excluding those created during the construction phases. These will include, merchandisers, shop assistants, shop managers and cleaners.

Apart from job creation, the establishment of the shopping centres will undoubtedly leave greater Edendale residents with cash at their disposal as they will no longer be compelled to travel to the central business district (CBD) or to the Liberty Midlands Mall to do their shopping. Having a mall on their doorsteps will be convenient.

In a report approved by the Msunduzi Municipality’s executive committee about the mall recently, it is stated that a weekly trip from Edendale to the city costs a typical family “more than R100 per month in taxi fares”. Given that most residents there shop in town for necessities, this willbe a large saving.

“The shopping centre is going to revive the economy of the greater Edendale area. This project is an equivalent of the firms that the area used to have in the olden days. The firms used to be a source of income for most young people back then,” said Pat Jaca, Ward 22 councillor.

The project is being established in Jaca’s ward and to him it is the realisation of a dream cultivated by the desire to establish a legacy project that will benefit the people of Edendale on a daily basis.

The facility will also benefit residents in the rural Vulindlela area as they will also not have to travel to the CBD to do their shopping.

The establishment of a facility such as this also redresses the inequalities of the past by ensuring that previously disadvantaged communities have an opportunity to share in the development and growth of the country.

The mall will bring with it an investment injection of about R350 million and will occupy about 33 000 square metres of space. The Qokololo Stadium-side of the centre is expected to be completed and open its doors for shopping in September next year.

The development is being done in a joint venture between McCormick Property Development and the New Ground Investment.

Young people who spoke to The Witness expressed their excitement and fears about the new Edendale mall. Sifiso Khumalo from Caluza said that the mall will definitely provide much-needed shopping facilities in the area, but said that the employment of young people should be prioritised.

Londeka Mngomezulu from Dambuza urged that jobs should be distributed evenly among young men and women, citing that those who benefit should be chosen on merit and not because they are from certain families or are politically connected.

In box

The greater Edendale area is made up of various townships including the number of units that make up Imbali, Caluza, Dambuza, Smero, Georgetown, KwaPata and Azalea areas. The area has an estimated population of more than 200 000 people.

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