We don't need doom gang

2008-04-21 00:00

I write in response to the recent letters published in The Witness (April 15) with regards to the expansion of the Liberty Midlands Mall. Why do we have to live with such ignorant people? Jackie Quinton what are you thinking?

There is no denying that the South African economy is under pressure from all angles — fuel, electricity, interest rates, crime, unemployment etc, but then again, from a global perspective, we are not alone.

The United States is heading for a huge recession and the rest of the world is battling along as well, fighting varying issues. Pietermaritzburg issues aside, please tell me how any development can be bad? The astronomical costs — so let them be.

Who is footing the bill? You and I? No. Big business, the development company, Liberty. They’re not going to be knocking on your door for money. Enlighten me — how is this going to affect small business in Pietermaritzburg? How is this going to cause small businesses to close?

Sure, not all the contracts will be given to local companies, but there are certainly opportunities to be had and those millions that Liberty is going to spend are going to filter into the economy in one way or another.

Yes, there are traffic flow issues and the measures that have been implemented do help, but there is certainly no crisis.

Mr Harling, get with the picture. You are obviously visiting the mall at peak times. I drive past the mall at least six times a day and experience the highest traffic volume between 4 pm and 5 pm. I may wait in traffic for up to five minutes but go to Gauteng and five minutes there is a dream come true for drivers.

Exceptions to this are month-end weekends and public holidays where the situation is admittedly worse, but still, I believe (and have experienced), within national acceptable levels.

Liberty has done a tremendous job with the mall and I welcome any further expansion. If, after the expansion is complete, there is a major issue with the flow of traffic — simple, people will not go. Shops in the development will suffer, close, terminate their leases and who will suffer in the end? Liberty.

You are from Bishopstowe, this is Pietermaritzburg. Not a klein dorpie any more. Take an alternate route, please.

Back to you Ms Quinton. When did you last drive past those council houses near the mall? Tell me, do you think it is such a bad idea that the tenants are relocated? At your expense? No, Liberty will be paying.

Electricity is a problem at the moment. Bear in mind that the new phase is at least two years from opening and who knows what Eskom could be up to then. We have an electricity crisis and it is something that we as a country have to work through.

I am fed up with people who have the “it’s not my problem” attitude. Yes, it is not your fault or my fault, it is the government and Eskom who are to blame. But the fact is that we all have to work together to save power and normalise the situation. How any one person can say: “I am not going to do my bit to save power, it’s not my problem”, is short sighted. A 10% reduction in usage is not a lot. In any event, it would mean that your electricity bill will be reduced by 10%.

We live in Africa. If you’re too slow, you’re lunch. Facts are facts. If the pan is too hot, get out. Despite all the issues we are faced with, this is the land of opportunity.

We are living in exciting times — keep up with them. We don’t need negative doomsdayers. Best you pack your bags and head across the pond to Perth, Paris or Pittsburgh. Let’s work together to grow our country.

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